Searchers Find Body of Flood Victim

Searchers Find Body of Flood Victim

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HURRICANE, Utah (AP/KSL News) -- Divers on Sunday recovered the body of an Idaho poet who was swept away last week by raging flood waters in southern Utah.

The body of 62-year-old author Gerald Grimmett was located Sunday morning about 17 feet below the surface of Quail Creek Reservoir, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brent Nelson said.

That area of the reservoir had previously been searched by dive teams from Hildale, Washington County and the Utah Department of Public Safety with no sign of the body.

"They had covered it once and for some reason decided to do it again," Nelson said. "Receptiveness is basically what found him."

Grimmett and his wife, Cyndy Grimmett, have spent the last 12 years as camp hosts at the Red Cliffs campgrounds and went out the morning of Jan. 10 after the rains to see if the roads were clear enough for Cyndy to go to work.

When they hit water, it started pouring into their vehicle, Cyndy Grimmett said.

"I got out of the vehicle, onto the roof then the hood and I jumped," she earlier told The Spectrum of St. George. "The flood water carried me away from the vehicle and I was able to snag onto a tree and get out of the water."

Dressed in her pajamas and a pair of boots, Grimmett yelled at her husband to stay in the vehicle while she went for help.

But Gerald Grimmett, 62, who could not swim, also climbed of the vehicle onto the hood.

"I told him not to jump," Grimmett said with tears in her eyes. "He jumped and went under the water and I never saw him again."

The stream, which Nelson said normally is only a trickle, feeds into the Quail Creek Reservoir.

Grimmett wrote three collections of poetry and a novel, "The Fairy Woman."

Meantime, Senator Orrin Hatch claims damages from the southern Utah floods will top $150-million.

Federal officials put the early damage estimate for bridges and roads at $86-million, but that's not counting the homes that were swept away or condemmed.

After taking a helicopter tour in and around Washington County, Hatch said the community support and volunteerism is the best he's ever seen.

Officials believe that roughly 50 homes have either been swept away or condemned because of severe damage when the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers flooded earlier this week. At least five bridges were closed after being washed out or loosed from their footings.

Hatch said he was amazed that Utah, the second driest state in the union, could have so much land torn up by runoff.

(The Associated Press and KSL News contributed to this story)

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