Boy, 12, Dies in River While Vacationing

( – A 12-year-old boy from Arizona tragically fell into the Provo River in Utah and drowned on June 8th. The incident occurred near Bridal Veil Falls while the boy was on vacation with his family. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office reported that the boy fell into the swollen river around 1:45 p.m.

The boy, named Finnley Udall, was seen at multiple points along the river as rescuers tried to reach him. The swift water, moving at a speed of 10 to 12 mph, made the rescue efforts extremely challenging. Several agencies responded to the search, including firefighters and search and rescue (SAR) volunteers, many of whom were certified in swift water rescue.

One firefighter jumped into the river to try and save Finnley but couldn’t hold onto him. Bystanders also attempted to rescue him but were unsuccessful. The river’s current was too strong, making it difficult for anyone to secure the boy.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said that an Orem swift-water trained firefighter finally managed to grab Finnley after he passed underneath. Despite being able to hold onto him briefly, the firefighter struggled to get to the shore. A SAR member threw a rope to the firefighter, who then held onto it. Using leverage from a tree, the SAR member swung both the firefighter and Finnley to the riverbank, where other responders helped bring them to shore.

Finnley had been in the water for over 30 minutes and traveled about four miles downstream before being pulled from the river. He was immediately taken to a hospital, where he later died. It is suspected that the cause of death was hypothermia due to the very cold water from spring runoff.

Utah officials have warned people about the Provo River’s fast and high water levels, advising visitors to keep their distance from the river’s edge. They urged people to consider alternative locations until the flow returns to normal.

Sgt. Cannon expressed condolences on behalf of all involved in the rescue and recovery operation, offering sincere sympathy to Finnley’s family.

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