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19-year-old drowns at Spring Lake near Payson


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PAYSON — Search and rescue teams have located and identified the body of a 19-year-old man who drowned at Spring Lake on Friday evening.

The man was identified as Weston Lane Peterson, 19, of Fairview, according to an early morning Facebook post by the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Peterson was swimming in the lake, located just south of Payson, with a female friend at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Friday when he began to struggle to stay above water, a news release from the sheriff's office says. A bystander on the shore swam in to help, and the woman also began struggling to struggle to stay above water.

The bystander attempted to swim back to shore with both of them but was not able to, the release says. The bystander took the woman to shore, and Peterson slipped beneath the surface and did not come back up.

Deputies responded to Spring Lake with Payson Fire and Ambulance, and the Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team sent crew members into the water. Some searchers used probe poles to search the bottom of the lake where Peterson was last seen, and divers searched beneath the surface. Visibility in the water was near zero, sheriff's officials said, so much of the divers' search was conducted by hand.

Struggling with the murky water, the sheriff's office reached out to Ty Hunter, boating program manager at the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, who came to the scene with an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV. The ROV identified an area of water that needed to be searched more closely, according to the news release.

At 10:55 p.m., Peterson's body was located in approximately 10 feet of water. "His body was taken to the state medical examiner's office where they will conduct an examination," the release says.

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Ashley Fredde covers human services and and women's issues for KSL.com. She also enjoys reporting on arts, culture and entertainment news. She's a graduate of the University of Arizona.

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