SALT LAKE CITY: A 4-year-old girl, her mother and a good Samaritan died in Utah after the child fell from a rock and was swept away in a cold, fast-moving river and several people jumped in to help her, authorities said Tuesday.
London DeDios had been playing with her mother on Memorial Day near Bridal Veil Falls when she fell. Her mother, Brenda DeDios, and five other people tried to save the girl, Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
The body of the child was found Tuesday about a mile down the Provo River. Gloria DeDios and Sean Zacharey Thayne, 30, were found about three miles (4.8 kilometers) down the river, about 45 miles (72.4 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City. Both died at a hospital.
The deaths came amid warnings from officials around the state urging people to be careful around rivers that are high, fast and icy as warm spring temperatures melt heavy snow that fell in the Utah mountains.
Cannon said the Provo River temperature was 45 degrees and it was moving about 4 to 7 mph — a dangerous combination.
“There were at least six people who acted heroically in their effort to save London,” he said. “The sad reality is that those heroics would not have been necessary had there been proper planning to keep this young girl out of the water.”
Search and rescue teams were aided when officials lowered the water level in the river by reducing the flow at a dam at Deer Creek Reservoir.
Last month, a 58-year-old woman drowned in Salt Lake City after she jumped into a river to try and save her two dogs. In Ogden, a boy died after he fell into a river while chasing his dog.
Drownings are the third-most unintentional injury death in Utah for people 17 and under, according to the Utah Department of Health.
A total of 42 children drowned from 2011 to 2015, and about half were 4 or younger.
The most common location for the drownings are rivers, streams and lakes. Pools account for three in 10 drownings.
Many occur at family gatherings where no one is designated as the “water watcher” to prevent children from wandering off, the health department said.
AP writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.