12-year-old boy dies after falling into Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls

PROVO A 12-year-old boy who fell into the Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls on Saturday afternoon has died, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Utah County Search and Rescue was called around 1:45 p.m. to a child who had fallen into the river. The boy and his family are from Arizona and were visiting relatives in Utah.

According to Sergeant Garrett Dutson of the UCSO, the child was spotted in several locations downstream. At approximately the corner of 800 North and University Avenue in Orem, a whitewater rescue firefighter jumped into the water and was able to rescue the child. The boy was pulled from the water four miles downstream.

Once on shore, the boy was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. A member of the search and rescue team was also taken to hospital with rope burns on his hands.

According to Dutson, the boy was in the water for about 30 minutes.

“A worryingly long time in the water,” he said.

A witness report

Jorge Rojas was with some friends in Mount Timpanogos Park, just a few miles south of Bridal Veill Falls, when they saw rescue workers in the park.

Rojas spoke to KSL TV about what he saw.

“He was lying face down and fell headfirst in,” Rojas said. “I immediately panicked and we all started screaming.”

Rojas said the boy was in immediate danger.

“From what I could tell, the kid looked completely unconscious,” he said. “And I was afraid we had already lost him. He didn't look like he was breathing. A few minutes later, about five to 10 minutes later, we saw him resurface, probably 200 feet below the drop. His head came out and then disappeared back under the water and it didn't look like he was looking up or breathing or anything.”

Rojas said it's one thing to hear about such stories, but quite another to witness them.

“I know people who are involved in search and rescue here in Utah County,” he said. “And I've heard stories from them, secondhand accounts. But it's one thing to hear it and another to see it in person. It's a totally different experience. And you definitely feel the emotion and the remorse for the person, but also for their family.”

Given the warm weather and rising water levels, Dutson urged everyone to be cautious and keep an eye on children.

What caused the boy to fall into the water is still unclear.

Anna Harden

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