DPS Dive Team Deployments are comprised of a whole spectrum of possibilities. The primary function of the Dive Team is to be a counter-measure against water-related terrorism in Utah. Yet, the skill-sets within the Dive Team cause it to be utilized in an almost unlimited range of applications … from lost objects to collapsed dams to drowning victims.
Below are listed in chronological order, beginning with the most recent, a series of deployments the DPS Dive Team has been involved in.
19 September 2013 – Holmes Creek Reservoir – Tyler Flint Drowning. The Dive Team was activated to assist in the search for Tyler Flint, who drowned while swimming in the reservoir. Within five minutes after the Sector Scan Sonar was deployed, an image of Mr. Flint appeared on the computer screen. Davis County SO Dive Team members were then guided to Mr. Flint’s body via the Sonar unit.
17 August 2013 – West Jordan Irrigation Canal – Weapon Recovery. The Dive Team responded to a call out from the West Jordan PD to search for a handgun in one of the larger irrigation canals that run through the city. Forensic Scientist Ryan Barney and Corporal Greg Kelsey conducted the search and found the weapon within 10 minutes.
26 June 2013 – Lake Powell – Joe Coffield Drowning. The Dive Team was requested to assist locating Mr. Coffield, who drowned as he tried to assist his wife while she was swimming and was overcome by a large wave. His valiant effort to help her resulted in his tragic death.
At left is a screen capture of Sgt. Mike Tueller as he prepares to dive and recover Mr. Coffield’s body.
20 June 2013 – Lake Powell – Jessica Jackman & Valerie Bradshaw. The Dive Team was requested to assist in the search for these two women who drowned subsequent to a boat crash. The water is 350′ deep at this location. The Side-Scan Sonar unit was deployed and, eventually, their bodies were located within 23′ of each other. Due to the water depth, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Underwater Recovery Unit conducted the recovery via their Remotely Operated Vehicle.
10-13 June 2013 – Lake Powell – Quagga Mussel Eradication. The Dive Team joined 50 other divers from around the USA to search the docks and boats for these elusive and horrible underwater invaders. A total of 195 mussels were removed from Antelope Point and Wahweap Marinas. The DPS Divers each spent four hours a day for four days underwater.
3 May 2013 – Flaming Gorge Reservoir – Danny Angelo Durante Drowning. The Dive Team responded to assist in the search for Mr. Durante, who drowned on 28 April. No reliable Point Last Seen was available and considerable effort was spent using the Side Scan Sonar. After five days, Mr. Durante’s body was located by the Sonar and then recovered by the Summit County SO ROV.
13 April 2013 – Jordan River Bypass Canal – Homicide Investigation. The Dive Team was called out to search the canal for a possible firearm used in a homicide. Using a metal detector, Sgt. Don Gould (right) located a weapon which was recovered by Forensic Scientist Ryan Barney (left). The weapon was then turned over to the Salt Lake City Police Department Homicide Squad for processing. The Team is deeply indebted to a conscientious citizen who provided the metal detector for this deployment.
5 May 2012 – Weber River – Corbin Anderson. The Dive Team responded to the drowning of 4-year-old Corbin Anderson in the Weber River, at the Kayak Rapids. The photo at left shows a DPS Diver checking a large cavern undercut by the current. The Diver is actually penetrating beyond the point where the Diver on the far right is standing. Numerous such caverns and washouts made this the most dangerous deployment the Dive Team has ever been involved in.
27 August 2011 – Bear Lake – Todd Smith Drowning. The Dive Team was contacted at 0130 hrs and requested to assist in the search for Mr. Smith. Five Team members arrived on-scene at 0800 hrs. After being briefed by Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey, the Team deployed. Just then, a search plane spotted a dark shadow in the water. The Sector-Scan Sonar was set up nearby and Mr. Smith’s body was immediately visible on the sonar screen. Three DPS Divers descended. Photos and video were used to document the scene. Once documentation was complete, DPS Divers recovered Mr. Smith’s body.
4 August 2011 – Utah Lake – Criminal Evidence Search. The Dive Team was contacted by an Orem Police Department detective early in the morning to assist in a felony investigation by searching for a firearm at a GPS location in Utah Lake. Three Dive Team members arrived at 1200 hrs and deployed, using an underwater metal detector. Shortly after the search was initiated, one diver became very entangled in discarded fishing line. Shortly after he surfaced and the line was removed, the handgun was indeed located. It was recovered and turned over to the Orem Police Department detective. The investigation is continuing, with a critical piece of evidence in-hand.
28 July 2011 – Panguitch Dam – Sluice Gate Malfunction. During the evening of 27 July, the sluice gate of the Panguitch Dam malfunctioned. On the morning of the 28th, the flow was raging through the dam (bottom right), causing concern that the entire reservoir would empty. Utah Homeland Security requested the Dive Team to respond with the sonar units to try to see what the malfunction was. When the Sector-Scan Sonar was deployed, it showed that the 48″ round inflow port was completely blown out to a huge gaping hole (bottom left). The Dive Team was able to assist the dam engineers determine the extent of damage and aid them in developing a strategy to stop the flow and initiate repairs.
22 July 2011 – Bear Lake – Boy Scout Drowning. A Boy Scout attending the BSA Bear Lake Aquatics Camp drowned on 13 July. The Dive Team was contacted on 21 July and requested to conduct an audit of the SCUBA training area where he died. Upon arrival early in the morning of the 22nd, the Team was briefed by Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey, and promptly deployed. Photographs and video were taken of the area and the artifacts found therein. Once documentation was complete, it was turned over to Sheriff Stacey.
28 May 2011 – Corporate Complex Pond – Homicide Handgun Search. A young man was shot & killed while riding in a car on the highway adjacent to this pond. The shooter fled from the vehicle and ran beside the pond. He was located shortly thereafter and investigators wondered if he tossed the weapon in the water. The Dive Team was requested to respond with underwater metal detectors to try and locate the gun. Everything but the gun was found, ranging from a car bumper to a AA battery. The Dive Team members were encapsulated for this search since waterfowl inhabit this pond. The bottoms of such ponds produce massive quantities of fecal coliform bacteria.
6 June 2010 – Huntington Reservoir – Joseph Ray Hoover Drowning. Joseph Ray Hoover was swimming with friends at Huntington Reservoir when he suddenly began to have difficulty keeping his head above water. After struggling for several minutes, he submerged and drowned. The Dive Team was requested by the Emery County Sheriff’s Office to respond and assist in the search for his body. Upon arrival, the Sector-Scan Sonar unti was deployed. Shortly before dark Mr. Hoover’s body appeared on the sonar screen. DPS Divers were then asked to enter the water and perform the recovery. Within minutes after the Divers submerged, Mr. Hoover’s body was located and brought to the surface. At this point, his body was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office.
1 June 2010 – Strawberry Reservoir – Christian Tyler Barton Drowning. Mr. Barton fell out of a pontoon boat and ended up between the pontoons as the boat passed over him. He never surfaced and was declared drowned. The Dive Team was requested by Sheriff Todd Bonner (middle at left) to assist in the search for his body. Upon arrival, the Side-Scan Sonar was deployed for five days at 12 hours/day, with no success. This bottom in this particular part of the reservoir is covered with large rocks, sagebrush, and valleys that cause extreme challenges for sonar applications. Mr. Barton’s body has never been located, nor has it resurfaced to-date. This is one of the most frustrating deployments the Dive Team has ever had.
24 May 2010 – Sand Hollow Reservoir – Quagga/Zebra Mussel Audit. The Dive Team was requested to dive around the main boat ramp and also the island near the boat ramp, to determine if there were any Zebra or Quagga Mussels infesting the reservoir. After several man-hours of diving these two sites, not a single mussel was seen. This was good news to the reservoir caretakers, as these invasive creatures create havoc within any body of water they invade. They are no natural predators for these mussels in the USA and they have ruined intake pipes, etc. in numerous lakes and reservoirs across America.
30 March 2010 – Willard Bay – Donald Larkin Drowning. Mr. Larkin drowned in Willard Bay when he paddled his Kayak out into the lake. His car was parked near the shore and drag marks were seen going into the water, there was no doubt he had entered the lake. The Dive Team was requested to respond with the Side-Scan Sonar unit to attempt to locate his body. A close look at the photo at left will show the sonar fish as it moves through the water. After many hours of scanning, Mr. Larkin’s body remained unfound. After several days his body floated to the surface at a position in the lake over two miles from where he had put in.
12 February 2010 – East Rosebud Lake, Wyoming – David Krueger Drowning. David Krueger was reported missing in the area around the lake on 21 November 2009. In February, Carbon County Sheriff Tom Rieger requested the Dive Team assist in the investigation by bringing the Sector-Scan Sonar to the lake and scan the a certain portion of the lake bottom. The photo at left shows the adaptation created to scan beneath the ice cap. Over 100 holes were drilled though the 12″ thick ice over a period of two days, to no avail. Mr. Krueger’s body eventually surfaced at the other end of the lake, approximately 1/2 mile away.
6 August 2009 – Tony Grove Lake – John Doucette Drowning. John Doucette was swimming with friends across the lake when he became unable to remain afloat and drowned. The DPS Dive Team was requested by Sheriff Chad Jensen to assist in the recovery effort. Early on the 6th the Dive Team arrived at the lake. The Sector-Scan Sonar was deployed shortly thereafter and Mr. Doucette’s body was located within . The Cache County Dive Team was guided to Mr. Doucette’s body and recovered it. The DPS Dive Team photo-documented the recovery.
24 June 2009 – Lyman Lake, Arizona – Danice Day Cold Case Homicide. On 9 January 2002, 19-year-old mother of two Danice Day disappeared. For seven years the family grieved and Rio Grand County Sheriff Brian Norton vigilantly pursued closure in the case. In June 2009, Sheriff Norton got a break in the form of intelligence that Danice’s body was inside a 55-gallon drum at the bottom of Lyman Lake, Arizona. Sheriff Norton contacted the DPS Dive Team to deploy their sonar units in the search. Within hours, the barrel was located. DPS Divers secured ropes onto the barrel and it was recovered, with Danice’s body found inside.
13 June 2009 – Jordan River Canal – Trejon Fite Drowning. On 13 June 2009, 8-year-old Trejon Fite (aka Trejon Brown) attempted to walk across a pipe that crosses the Jordan River Surplus Canal at Redwood Road and California Avenue in Salt Lake City. He fell into the canal and drowned. The Dive Team was requested to assist by using the Sector-Scan Sonar to check the canal beneath and adjacent to the bridge. The photo to the left is an actual scan of the underside of the bridge and the support columns are easily visible.
Trejon Fite’s body was eventually located in the Great Salt Lake near the Salt Air complex on 1 August 2011.
28 February 2009 – Colorado River (Moab) – Danica Maestas Drowning. On 27 February, the car that 5-year-old Danica Maestas was riding in went off the roadway, crashed into the Colorado River, and she drowned inside the car as it sank. The Dive Team was requested to assist in the search for her body and deployed the Sector-Scan Sonar unit early in the morning of the 28th. The Colorado River was swollen from snowmelt and the current was almost unmanageable. Divers had to hang onto boulders on the bottom when checking possible targets, to keep from being swept away. The car was later found and Danica’s body was recovered by a DPS Diver who had to be dragged back to shore along the bottom. Shortly thereafter, a DPS Diver hooked a tow cable onto the vehicle and it was also recovered.
18 February 2009 – Jordan River Bypass Canal – Stolen Cars. It is commonly known that thieves sometimes abandon stolen cars in water, so that they are not visibile. Especially in water that has zero visibility. The car may be covered by only 6″ of water and still remain undetected. A citizen reported the car at the left, which was found in the Jordan River Bypass Canal. DPS Divers attached a tow chain to the car and it was recovered. The serial numbers were checked and it was indeed stolen over a year earlier.
9 February 2009 – Jordan River Bypass Canal – Stolen Cars. Similar to the above story, this vehicle was also found in the Jordan River Bypass Canal when the water level dropped sufficiently for it to become visible. This canal has such a high level of mud and particulate that there is absolutely no visibility, not even one inch! This is one reason why the sonar units are so valuable, they can see right through the muddy water as if it were crystal clear. The DPS Divers hooked up this vehicle to a tow chain and it was recovered. Further investigation revealed it was also stolen.
17 November 2008 – Flaming Gorge Reservoir – Electronic Instrument Search. The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources requested the Dive Team assist in the search for a piece of electronic gear that sank into the water at a GPS coordinate in Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The item was approximately three feet long and three inches in diameter. This particular part of the reservoir is approximately 150′ deep, making it a challenging dive if the equipment would be located.
The Sector-Scan Sonar unit was deployed and the entire area was triple-covered in an effort to find the object. The bottom terrain was rocky, making the search even more difficult. Unfortunately, the instrument was not found.
20 September 2008 – Lake Powell – Luke Rogers Drowning. Luke Rogers was riding on the front of the boat, hanging onto the dock line. The boat suddenly decelerated and Luke tumbled over the front, submerged, and drowned. The Dive Team was requested to assist in the search for his body by deploying the Side-Scan Sonar. The lake bottom in this area is over 200′ deep, full of boulders, ravines, and gaping cracks. After several days of 12-hours-a-day searching, Mr. Rogers’ body surfaced and was recovered.
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13 September 2008 – Hidden Valley Country Club – Missing Child Search. On this date, in the neighborhood surrounding the Hidden Valley Country Club, a young autistic child became unaccounted for. The community responded to a wide-spread canvassing of the area. The country club has several golf course ponds and undeveloped bodies of water in a forested environment which needed to be cleared.
The DPS Dive Team responded to the request and cleared several ponds on the property. The ponds in the forested area were quite boggy and required cautious behavior on the part of the Divers.
5 July 2008 – Utah Lake – Craig Decker Drowning. Craig Decker was sailing with his parents when an oar fell off the boat. He jumped in to retrieve it but was unable to make his way back to the boat, due to the wind driving the boat away from him. He drowned after several minutes swimming toward the boat. The Dive Team was requested to utilize the sonar equipment to try to find his body. Not having an accurate last seen point caused the Dive Team to spend many hours scanning a large portion of the lake bottom. After several days, Mr. Decker’s body surfaced and was recovered.
11 October 2007 – Lake Powell – Kamberlie Binks Drowning. On October 8th, 3-year-old Kamberlie drowned at Bullfrog Marina. For three days, a land-, air-, and water-based search produced no leads. On the 10th, the DPS Dive Team was requested to assist by employing the sonar units. Three hours after deploying the Sector-Scan Sonar, an image of Kamberlie appeared on the sonar screen. The water depth was 114′ and zero visibility, along with the hazard of underwater guide-wires. DPS Divers dove down and recovered Kamberlie’s body. The dive was complicated and required staged decompression on the ascent. DPS Administrators listened via telephone to the entire recovery dive.
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11 September 2007 – Jordanelle Reservoir – Brian Vance Drowning. Brian Vance was launching his boat from the Rock Cliff boat ramp when it is believed to have gotten away from him and bagan floating out into deeper water. It is believed that Mr. Vance began swimming out to his boat to recover it when he unexplainedly submerged and drowned. The Dive Team was requested to deploy the Sector-Scan Sonar to help locate his body. The lake bottom in this area is littered with logs and debris. Mr. Vance’s body was eventually recovered on 13 September by Search & Rescue personnel.
5 September 2007 – Scofield Reservoir – Brian Farnell Drowning. Brian Farnell was camping near the shore of Scofield Reservoir when he got up during the night and entered the water. He was not missed until the morning and the consensus was that he drowned. The Dive Team was requested to assist in the search by deploying the Sector-Scan Sonar. The Dive Team arrived just after dark and about 1:45am found his body. Mr. Fanrell’s body was recovered shortly thereafter.
4 August 2007 – Bear Lake – Seth Fraughton Drowning. On 4 August, Seth Fraughton drowned while swimming. Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey requested the Dive Team to assist in the investigation. The Dive Team deployed the Sector-Scan Sonar and located his body within minutes. Two DPS Divers descended and initiated the recovery process. Shortly after they submerged, a sudden windstorm flared up, causing high waves to appear almost out of nowhere. The recovery process was expedited and the Dive Team Almar Boat barely made it back to the marina before being swamped by waves that crashed up over the top of the cabin.
25 July 2007 – Deer Creek Reservoir – Handgun Search. The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division requested the Dive Team search a specific area in Deer Creek Reservoir for a handgun. The Sector-Scan Sonar was deployed and two promising targets appeared on the computer screen.
Neither target turned out to be the handgun. Interestingly, however, a submerged kayak was discovered during the search.
13 June 2007 – Bear Lake – Submerged Sailboat. The Dive Team was taking part in a sonar training exercise at Bear lake when a request from the Boy Scouts of America was received. A sailboat had sunk offshore from the scout campgrounds on the west side of the lake. The Boy Scouts administration wanted to know if the boat was worth salvaging and asked the Dive Team to find it and conduct an audit.
The Dive Team found the sailboat shortly thereafter in 45′ depth offshore from the campground. Upon diving it, the Dive team could observe it was in very poor condition and reported to the Boy Scouts administration. It was left in position as an artifact of the lake.
24 May 2007 – Great Salt Lake – USGS Instrument Recovery. The United States Geological Survey Agency maintains extremely expensive scientific instruments in the Great Salt Lake to measure salinity and other tests. When a location buoy to one of these instruments sinks or is damaged, the instruments must be recovered. The USGS requested the Dive Team to locate one such lost device. The Dive Team used Side-Scan Sonar in the general area and found an unusual signature. After more investigation, including a call to the manufacturer, it was determined that the “deep brine layer” in the Great Salt Lake was beyond the computer program’s limits to show an accurate image of the device. It was, nonetheless, recovered and a good lesson was learned.
6 May 2007 – Kolob Reservoir – Suspected Drowning. While the Dive Team was en route home from a training exercise at Lake Powell, a request was received to divert to Kolob Reservoir. An individual had become unaccounted for and his vehicle was found near the water’s edge. The Dive Team deployed the sonar unit and cleared the area around where his vehicle was parked. No indication of his body was found in the reservoir and the Dive Team continued their trip home.
6 March 2007 – Great Salt Lake- USGS Instrument Recovery. The USGS placed a special underwater measuring device to detect the amount of fresh water flowing into the great Salt Lake. It was reported that a Brine Shrimp fishing boat had dragged one of the USGS locator buoys away from its original location and the device was now unaccounted for. Both sonar units were deployed in the general area and the device was located. When the DPS Diver attempted to submerge, an additional 30 lbs. was needed (total 60 lbs.). He had no problem, once submerged, but when attempting to re-enter the boat, he couldn’t lift himself out of the water. Another important lesson learned. Once again, the DPS Diver was encapsulated, due to the danger of Brine Shrimp eggs getting in his eyes, causing possible blindness.
8-19 November 2006 – Strawberry Reservoir – Multiple Bodies Recovered. On 8 November, Steven & Catherine Roundy drowned when their fishing boat swamped “somewhere out in that area towards the middle” due to sudden high winds. The DPS Dive Team was requested by Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner to deploy the Side-Scan Sonar to search for them, since there was no good Point Last Seen. After 11 days and a search of 12.5 square miles of lake bottom, Mr. & Mrs. Roundy + three other bodies had been found. Bodies 3-4 were from an incident in 1995 and body 5 was from an incident in 2001. In this deployment, closure was provided to multiple families simultaneously.
1 November 2006 – Jordan River – Robbery Weapon. The Salt Lake City Police Department Homicide Division requested the Dive Team to assist in the search for a handgun believed to have been disposed of in the Jordan River. Dive Team members employed metal detectors to find targets and the a designated Diver would check out the targets. Over 500 pounds of metal cans, pipes, and other debris was located. This photo shows a DPS Dive Team member using a metal detector and another Diver checking out a target.
9 June 2006 – Utah Lake – Airplane Crash. During the previous evening, a small airplane crashed into Utah Lake. When it struck the water, the airplane broke up into many pieces, killing all three occupants. The Dive Team was requested to assist in the search. The Dive Team employed the Sector-Scan Sonar to locate wreckage and the three victims. Almost all the major components of the aircraft were recovered, which assisted greatly in the overall investigation.
7 June 2006 – Flaming Gorge Reservoir – Kevin Parry Drowning. Mr. Parry fell out of his fishing boat in 84′ deep water and drowned. The Dive Team was requested to respond by Sweetwater County Sheriff David Gray to assist in the recovery effort. Upon arrival, the Side-Scan Sonar was deployed and within hours Mr. Parry’s body appeared on the sonar screen. The Sector-Scan Sonar was then deployed near Mr. Parry’s body. DPS Divers descended into the murky water and were guided to his body by the sonar technician on the surface. The Divers located Mr. Parry’s body and it was recovered immediately thereafter.
2 June 2006 – Utah Lake – Kathryn Reese Drowning. Kathryn Reese drowned about 2000 hrs while boating. The DPS Dive Team was requested by Utah County Sheriff James Tracy to assist in the search by deploying the Sector-Scan Sonar to loacte her body. Immediately upon arrival about 2200 hrs, the Dive Team deployed. At 0430 hrs, her body became visible on the sonar screen. Two DPS Divers descended into the zero-visibility water and were guided to her body via sonar. Her body was recovered and turned over to the Sheriff’s Office personnel.
19 July 2005 – Utah Lake – Joseph Lawrence Drowning. While sail boating, Joseph Lawrence entered the water to make a temporary repair. Suddenly, the wind gusted and blew the boat away from him. He was unable to catch up to it and tragically drowned. The DPS Dive Team was requested to assist by employing the sonar unit to find his body, although there was no accurate last seen point. After many-many hours of frustrating searching, Mr. Lawrence’s body surfaced and was recovered by a DPS Diver.
30 May 2005 – Gunlock Reservoir – Trent Johnson Drowning. While enjoying a popular swimming spot near the top of the spillway at Gunlock Reservoir, Trent Johnson inadvertently went over the spillway and down a steep waterfall into the Santa Clara River. He never surfaced and an immediate rescue effort was initiated. The Dive Team was requested to bring the Sector-Scan Sonar and search the large pool at the base of the waterfall. After several hours of checking logs and debris that appeared human-like on the sonar screen. Mr. Johnson’s body was found and recovered.
16 January 2005 – Quail Creek Reservoir – Gerald Grimmet Drowning. One 10 January, during the devastating St. George flood, Mr. Grimmet was trying to drive across a swollen creek bed when his truck stalled. As flood waters rose, he crawled onto the roof of the truck and was eventually swept off it and downstream into the torrent. On the 13th, his body was seen carried by rushing waters as the river dumped into Quail Creek Reservoir. The Dive Team was requested to assist the Washington County SO Dive Team in an effort to locate his body. On the 16th, his body was found buried in silt and rocks up to his waist. Dive Team Members submerged and dug his body out with their hands for over an hours until it was free of the rocks/silt and they then recovered it.
24 August 2004 – High Uinta Mountains – Garett Bardsley Disappearance. During a Boy Scout campout in the High Uinta mountains, young Mr. Bardsley disappeared. A concern developed that he might have gone into the lake seen in the photo at left. The Dive Team was requested to search this lake, although there is only a walking trail to it … no passable road at all. The Divers were transported to the lake’s edge via helicopter and they then conducted a visual sweep throughout the lake. Mr. Bardsley’s body was not found. Click here to watch a video clip of the helicopter transport from the lake back to the base camp. If you look closely, you will see in the video the very same lily pads the Divers are standing in at left.