LOCAL NEWS

Hero kayaker saves children trapped inside sinking truck

Aug 23, 2022, 9:45 PM | Updated: 10:46 pm

SUMMIT COUNTY, UtahA 9-year-old boy is fighting for his life Tuesday night after nearly drowning at the Smith and Morehouse Reservoir in Summit County.

A family from Davis County had parked their truck on the boat ramp when it slid into the water.

KSL’s Shelby Lofton talked with a hero kayaker who used his experience as a park ranger to rescue the children inside.

“My husband went out paddling and I stayed onshore with my daughter,” said Kathy Donnell.

A beautiful afternoon on the water turned into a dramatic rescue Monday afternoon.

“They were saying Dios, which in Spanish is God,” said Joe Donnell.

Joe and his family heard cries for help. They saw a truck on the boat ramp steadily heading into the water.

“I guess the first boy got out and swam over to my wife,” Joe said.

“I noticed the grandpa was heading in with the baby girl, 2 to 3 years old, and he was starting to panic and he said, ‘I can’t do this’ and threw her at me and I grabbed her,” Kathy said.

One child was still inside.

“I didn’t want to leave him. I couldn’t live with myself if I knew there was a body down there waiting for a pickup truck to come drag the truck out so it could get the body out,” Joe said. “I just knew I couldn’t do that.”

Joe said he left his life jacket and dove into the water.

“I think I went down a total of seven times, maybe.”

Each time he resurfaced, the panic grew.

“I kept going in to just encourage Joe when he’d come up,” Kathy said. “He said, ‘I can’t find him.’ And I said, ‘Yes you can. Yes you can.'”

“I finally found him,” Joe said. “I just remember reaching up and feeling some clothing and I grabbed him.”

Child hospitalized, another two rescued after truck submerges in Summit County reservoir

Joe said he swam about 20 yards back to shore.

His daughter, Timber, had called 9-1-1.

“I was holding his head, trying to keep his airway open,” Kathy said. “We started CPR. We had 9-1-1 on the phone.”

Kathy said the boy had a pulse when he was taken to the hospital.

“It was a team effort, everyone pitching in doing everything they could to give this little boy another chance at life,” said Sgt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office told KSL the 9-year-old is currently on life support at University Hospital.

The other two children are doing OK.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

[File] Utah Highway Patrol State Trooper car (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)...

Larry D. Curtis

Child struck, critically injured by tractor near Coalville

A tractor hit a 5-year-old boy who darted into the road, critically injuring the child.

10 months ago

(FILE) Police vehicles are parked outside the South Jordan Police Department on Friday, April 24, 2...

Michael Houck

Police: Three teens hospitalized after crashing into wall in South Jordan

Three teenagers were injured after crashing into a concrete wall Tuesday morning, police say.

10 months ago

Elephants Zuri and Christie will be transferred from Utah's Hogle Zoo to another accredited facilti...

Josh Ellis

Elephants leaving Utah’s Hogle Zoo after more than 100 years of care

Utah's Hogle Zoo elephants Christie and Zuri will be transferred to another accredited zoo, ending the zoo's continuous care of elephants after more than 100 years.

10 months ago

The town of Hideout wants to annex hundreds of acres from Summit County and Wasatch County, includi...

Michael Houck

Landowners in-between Hideout and Kamas file for township

A group of Summit County landowners filed to incorporate as a new town called West Hills Tuesday.

10 months ago

(Chopper 5)...

Debbie Worthen

Residents meet with Draper leaders to find out what’s next for neighborhood after landslide

Dozens of Suncrest residents met with Draper city leaders for a town hall-style meeting two weeks after the ground below two homes collapsed and sent them sliding down the mountainside.

10 months ago

Flooding temporarily closed state Route 39 in Ogden Canyon Tuesday morning. (Utah Department of Pub...

Josh Ellis

Utah roads, parks close due to flooding and high runoff levels

Several roads were closed due to flooding Tuesday morning, and warm temperatures will keep rivers and creeks running high throughout the day.

10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

Hero kayaker saves children trapped inside sinking truck