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Utah Lake Rescue

Utah Lake Rescue

Posted - Jun. 6, 2003 at 4:52 p.m.



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Sam Penrod Reporting...Two men are alive tonight thanks to good safety planning, and a bit of good luck, after their boat capsized in rough waves on Utah Lake.

The two men remained calm while they struggled against cold and choppy water, for nearly two hours last night.

And rescuers say the men made it to safety thanks to their own preparation with safety equipment, and a lucky break when a plane flew overhead and radioed their location.

As David Porcoro and Andres Gianfelice went sailing on Utah Lake last night, high winds suddenly interrupted the two's outing, leaving them stranded in the middle of the lake.

Andres Gianfelice, Rescued From Utah Lake: "BETWEEN THE WAVES AND OVER CORRECTION THE BOAT GOT TIPPED SIDEWAYS, WHICH IS REALLY NATURAL WITH THESE SMALL BOATS, USUALLY YOU CAN TIP THEM RIGHT BACK UP, BUT THIS TIME THE MAST GOT STUCK IN THE MUD IN THE BOTTOM OF UTAH LAKE"

The two spent 30- minutes in the water, trying to tip the boat back up. They finally decided to swim back to shore.

"THERE WAS A LOT OF WAVES AND SO WE'RE SWALLOWING A LOT OF WATER."

"WE'RE KIND OF DISAPPOINTED AT THE TIME, WE'VE WAVED AT A LOT OF BOATS THAT KEPT GOING, WE DECIDED TO KEEP PLUGGING ALONG AND EVENUTALLY WE'D MAKE IT TO SHORE."

After more than an hour in the water, which was becoming very cold to the two boaters, a small plane flying overhead saw the capsized boat and called for help.

Sgt. Dennis Harris, Utah County Sheriff's Office: "WE HAD SOME REAL HEROES, TODAY, THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS FLYING UP IN THE PLANE IF IT WAS NOT FOR HIM, I WOULD BE CONCERNED THE HYPOTHERMIA WOULD HAVE CONTINUED AND THE POSSIBILTY THEY COULD HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES."

Search and rescue crews responded on jets skis borrowed from other citizens and quickly found the men.

Searchers say the boater’s decision to wear life jackets saved their lives, keeping them afloat when they were tired and cold.

It's something these rescued boaters, say every boater should wear.

"I NEVER THINK I'LL FALL IN WATER OR HAVE TO ABANDON SHIP, BUT IT WAS SURE NICE TO ALREADY HAVE IT ON WHILE I WAS REALZING WHAT JUST HAPPENED, AT LEAST I WAS FLOATING, IT WAS DEFINATELY GOOD TO HAVE ON A LIFE JACKET."

Authorities also credit the citizens who turned over their own watercraft, in helping rescuers get to the victims faster.

Both men were checked out last night and released in good condition, with minor symptoms of hypothermia.

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