According to KUTV, FISHLAKE, Utah (KUTV) — Sevier County Sheriff's Office officials shared that the body of a missing 13-year-old boy was recovered at Fish Lake in Sevier County Saturday, October 23, 2021. "A special thank you to all those who assisted in this operation," police shared on social media.
The search for the boy first began Friday, when he and his father, Christopher Winslow from Cedar City, had gone fishing with a friend. At around 3:30 a.m., the father and son dropped off their friend and headed back on the lake to fish more. Officials said sometime after 5 a.m., the boat Winslow and his son were on capsized. They added that neither was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident, and each held on to opposite ends of the boat.
Winslow reported he and his son attempted to call 911, but the call would not connect and was dropped. Dispatchers said they tried several times to call back with no success. "At some point the son succumbed to the exposure, let go of the boat, and began sinking," officials stated. Winslow said he swam down to bring his son back to the surface, but was unable to. Just before 8 a.m., some nearby fishermen reported hearing someone yelling for help.
They located Winslow and told officials they were able to pull him from the 53-degrees water and get him to shore. The fishermen added he was around 1,000 feet from the closest shoreline. Winslow informed those assisting him of his son, and employees of Fishlake Lodge Resort began searching the area while search and rescue teams were responding. Winslow was taken to Sevier Valley Hospital to be treated for exposure to hypothermia. Crews were initially unable to find the boy, they said. They added they continued searching through wind, rain and snow.
Officers said they were working with resources from Sevier County, Utah Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety dive teams, the state fire marshal’s office, and Utah State Parks to locate him. The area where the boat capsized went over 100 feet deep, and "at an elevation of 9,000 feet above sea level, this becomes a dangerous dive," they said. At approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday, search crews said they were able to retrieve the body of the boy, which was located at a depth of 106 feet. "During the search on Saturday, an immediate family member contacted Sheriff Curtis and provided a cell phone tracking log by screen shot," officers stated.
The family used an app called Life 360 to keep track of each other, and they were able to see the last location on Winslow's phone.
“If it had not been for the family and the app information they provided, we would not have found him as quick as we did," said Sheriff Curtis with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office. "We would have found him eventually, but not near as quickly.”
Curtis also thanked everyone else who aided in the search. “I want to thank all our partners from the Utah DPS dive team, Utah State Parks, Utah Fire Marshall’s office, and the Wasatch County Sheriff's search and rescue team," he 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.
I want to thank the Sevier County Search and Rescue and EMT volunteers for their support and response to this mission. And all the search and rescue teams who reached out to offer help, you truly make difference.”