Boater drowns in Lake Powell after jumping in to help his kids

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lone Rock, at Lake Powell, on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020.

A Lake Powell boater is dead after jumping into the lake to assist his child who was struggling to stay above the water.

California resident Phil Chiang, 49, rented a ski boat at Wahweap Marina on Thursday for a day touring the lake with his family, according to a release from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Around 1 p.m. they stopped in a cove near Warm Creek Bay, where two children went swimming without life jackets.

After one began struggling, Chiang, also without a life jacket, jumped in to help. After assisting the two kids back on board, he slipped underwater and did not resurface, the National Park Service reported

The children’s mother flagged down passing boats and called for help on a marine-band radio.

Several boaters stopped to help and dove down looking for Chiang. He was brought to the surface after at least 10 minutes underwater. The rescuers took him to the beach to perform CPR, but they could not resuscitate the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Besides the park service, personnel from Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Utah State Parks responded to the emergency.

Chiang’s is just one of many drowning deaths to occur this summer on Utah lakes. Most if not all of these deaths could have been prevented had the victims been wearing personal flotation devices, according to Utah State Parks.

Deer Creek and Pineview reservoirs, also popular boating destinations, have seen at least four drownings this summer in which the victims entered the water without life jackets.