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Man drowns trying to retrieve boat at Flaming Gorge

Published June 4, 2013 10:25 am

Wyoming • Victim is 49-year-old Rock Springs boater.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Authorities are awaiting results of an autopsy for the official cause of death, but say it appears the weekend drowning of a Wyoming man at Flaming Gorge Reservoir was accidental.

Sweetwater County (Wyo.) sheriff's Detective Dick Blust on Tuesday identified the victim as 49-year-old Mitch Hunt of Rock Springs.

Hunt was boating on the lake with a female friend Sunday afternoon when they decided to beach their watercraft in the bay at Sage Creek south of Firehole Canyon. When the wind pushed the boat off-shore and back into the water, Hunt attempted to swim out to retrieve it. He began to struggle and then went under, the woman told deputies.

The woman, along with several bystanders, jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue Hunt but could not find him.

Hunt's body eventually was spotted beneath the surface by a helicopter crew. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Hunt was transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs, where he was pronounced dead.

The reservoir is the main attraction for the nearly 208,000-acre Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, which straddles the northeastern Utah-southwestern Wyoming border.

In April, another Wyoming man — Danny Durante, 46 — drowned after his boat apparently capsized during high winds in the Jug Hollow area, on the Utah portion of the reservoir.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims