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Searchers find body of Georgia man believed drowned in Lake Powell

Published June 26, 2013 9:28 pm

Investigation • Joe Coffield died after he jumped from a boat to try and help his wife, officials said.
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Searchers on Wednesday found the body of a 61-year-old Georgia man who drowned in Lake Powell two days ago while trying to help his wife.

The body of Joe Coffield, of Snellville, Ga., was found at about 11 am. Wednesday, according to the Kane County Sheriff's Office.

On Monday at about 1 p.m., Coffield and his wife were in a rental boat near buoy No. 12 at the entrance to Warm Creek Bay, when the woman — who was swimming with a life jacket on — began to drift away from the boat. The husband jumped into the water to try to help his wife when he disappeared and was presumed drowned, the sheriff's office reported.

Denise M. Shultz, a spokesperson with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area said it appears the wind was pushing the boat away from the woman when the husband jumped in to get her. He did not put on a life jacket, and went under and did not resurface. They were the only two on the boat, Shultz said.

Coffield's body was recovered by dive crews from the National Park Service, Utah Department of Public Safety and the Summit County Sheriff's Office. Search efforts were supported by personnel from Utah State Parks, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.

His body was transferred to the Kane County medical investigator for further investigation.

Coffield is the fourth boating-related death in a five-day period in Kane County's portion of Lake Powell. On June 20, three women died when the motorboat in which they were riding struck a houseboat.

Sheriff's officials urged boaters to wear life jackets and be aware of their surroundings while on Lake Powell.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims