13-year-old Cedar City boy drowns at Fish Lake; father rescued from capsized boat

Law enforcement vehicles at Fish Lake in Sevier County, Utah, Oct. 23, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — A 13-year-old from Cedar City is dead after the boat he was fishing in capsized Friday morning at Fish Lake in Sevier County. His father was rescued about two hours after the boat turned over, authorities said.

Fish Lake in Sevier County, undated | Photo courtesy of the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

Christopher Winslow of Cedar City was night fishing with his son and one other friend. The Winslows dropped the friend off at the Fish Lake Lodge Marina at about 3:15 a.m. and went back out onto the lake to fish some more.

The father and the son went into the water when their boat capsized about 5:15 a.m. Neither of occupants of the boat was wearing a life jacket, according to a statement from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office. They attempted to call 911 but they had a poor connection and the dispatchers were only able to ascertain the nearest cell tower location. Repeated calls from dispatchers back to the number went unanswered.

At some point the 13-year-old was overcome by the exposure and let go of the boat. He began sinking and his father attempted to dive down to bring him back up, but was unsuccessful.

About 7:30 a.m. other fishermen on the lake had reportedly turned their motor off to reel in a fish and heard Winslow’s cries for help. The other anglers reportedly found Winslow holding on to the capsized boat about 1,000 yards from the shore.

Winslow, who was suffering from exposure, told rescuers that his son had been with him. After taking the man to the lodge, employees of the lodge immediately returned to the lake and began searching for the boy.

Winslow was later taken to a hospital for treatment for hypothermia and exposure.

Sevier County Search and Rescue was called to the scene, but the lake’s depth was too great for a safe dive. A family member provided GPS coordinates that had been transmitted about 5:20 a.m. via an app on the boy’s phone, which assisted Utah Department of Public Safety divers along with other agencies that were called in. The boy’s body was recovered Saturday evening after being found at a depth of 106 feet.

“I want to thank all our partners from the Utah DPS dive team, Utah State Parks, Utah Fire Marshals office, and the Wasatch County Sheriff’s search and rescue team,” Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis said. “They provided resources that we do not have in our county and because of their help we were able to bring this young man home to his family to hopefully provide some comfort in this tragedy.”

The boy’s name has not been released by authorities.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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