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Volunteers Take the Plunge for Water Safety Awareness

Utah State Parks

In wake of the rescue of two fishermen from Willard Bay on Wednesday night, officials are encouraging people swimming in state parks this summer to use life jackets.

The water at Jordanelle State Park near Heber was only 46 degrees, but that didn’t stop some brave volunteers from taking the plunge and experiencing the shock of the cold water. 

B.J. Christenson is an Ironman triathlete and one of the volunteers who jumped in the water from a boat about a hundred yards from shore. He was only in the water for about ten minutes, but in that time, his body temperature dropped to the low 90s. Medical staff was on hand to treat Christenson and the other volunteers.

Ty Hunter of the Utah State Parks program says as the weather warms up, people like to go out on the lakes, but they’re not always well prepared in case of an emergency.

“You’re not going to survive very long in these conditions in the water unless you have a life jacket,” he says.

The two people rescued from Willard Bay Wednesday evening only had one life jacket between them when their boat capsized. Hunter credits one of the anglers with having a waterproof cell phone case and calling 911 for a quick rescue.  

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