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Four Dead After Boat Capsizes on Bear Lake

Flickr: ufoncz
Bear Lake

Four people are dead, including three children, after a boat capsized in rough water on Bear Lake Monday night.

At about 9 p.m. Monday night, members of the Rich County Search and Rescue were able to locate the overturned boat and its seven passengers.

Emergency responders declared 45-year-old Lance Capener dead at the lake, while his two daughters, Kelsey and Kilee died after being air lifted to Primary Children's Hospital. Sierra Hadley, one of the girls friends, also died.

Rich County Sheriff’s officers say they don’t know exactly what caused the boat to flip, but suspect a severe windstorm with gusts greater than 60 miles per hour and rough waters with waves as large as 10 feet likely contributed to the accident.

Ty Hunter is the Boating Program Coordinator for the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. He says it’s tragic when accidents like this happen, but that boaters don’t need to be afraid of going out on the lake, they just need to be prepared.

“Boating’s one that you may think that you know everything and then you’re going to get humbled real quick," he says. "The biggest thing is there’s a consistent learning environment and that’s what recreational boating is, that consistent learning environment. Do that, improve yourself to where you can keep your people that are on your boat safe and yourself safe.”

Hunter also says boaters should make sure everyone is wearing a life vest and that they should check the weather report before launching. He also suggests having a plan for dealing with a sudden storm.

“You got to know the limitations of the craft that you’re on and know whether or not you can take heavy water or you can’t," he says." And that will determine how you are to weather a storm out on the lake or if you should just really be trying to get to the safest and most closest area that you can get to.”

All of the passengers on the capsized boat were wearing life jackets, but were likely floating in 53-degree water for several hours before being rescued. Capener’s wife, Kathryn, and two other young girls survived.

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