Father Drowns Saving His 2 Children From Drowning in Lake Powell, UT

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Lake Powell, Utah
Lake Powell, UT. Credit: water.utah.gov

On Thursday, August 5, 2021, at approximately 1:13 p.m., Glen Canyon Communications Center received an emergency marine band call reporting a possible drowning in the Warm Creek Bay area of Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Warm Creek is located between Navajo Canyon and Gunsight Bay, approximately 12 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam, in Kane County, Utah. The victim has been identified as Phil Chiang, a 49-year-old male from Palo Alto, California.

Witnesses reported a family of four on vacation in the area rented a ski boat from the Wahweap Marina and toured the lake. Shortly before 1:00 pm (AZ time), they stopped in a cove near Warm Creek Bay. The two children went swimming without life jackets and one of them began to struggle. The father, also not wearing a life jacket, jumped off the boat to rescue them. After getting the children onto the boat, he went underwater. The mother flagged down other vessels in the area and called for help over marine band radio. Three boats and several good samaritans assisted. The victim was located after at least 10 minutes underwater. The good samaritans moved the victim to the beach and began CPR. National Park Service (NPS) Rangers arrived 5 to 10 minutes later followed by the arrival of Classic Air Medical. Resuscitation efforts by NPS Rangers, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Dive Team members, Classic Air Medical, and the good samaritans were unsuccessful and he was pronounced deceased on scene.

Utah State Parks responded to the scene to assist with the investigation and towed the rental vessel to Antelope Point Marina. Kane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies met NPS Rangers at the Wahweap Ranger Station and took custody of the victim. The victim was transported to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City for an autopsy. The incident is under investigation by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, National Park Service, and the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office.

The National Park Service and Kane County Sheriff’s Office express our condolences to the victim’s family and friends. No further information is available at this time.

All boaters are reminded to always wear life jackets when boating and recreating on or around the water. Life jackets save lives. More safety information is available here: https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/safety.htm, and Ten Things You Need To Know Before You Boat.

Lake Powell
Lake Powell, UT

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