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Woman rescued, husband dead after kayak capsizes at Deer Creek Reservoir
August 12, 2017

HEBER CITY — An Orem man saved a woman from drowning after a kayak accident sent her and her husband into the water at Deer Creek Reservoir on Saturday, police reported.

The husband's body was recovered hours later.

A 32-year-old Illinois man was kayaking with his wife at the reservoir around 3:20 p.m. when their kayak tipped over. Neither were wearing life jackets even though there were two life jackets in the kayak, said Utah State Parks Sgt. Drew Patterson.

When the two-person kayak flipped about 60 feet from shore, the man disappeared "under the water quickly," the woman told officials. The man did not know how to swim, according to Patterson.

Mike Millgate and his family were boating nearby when they spotted the overturned kayak. They rushed to the area, wondering if someone was in trouble.

"As we got closer, it was for sure that they were drowning," Millgate said.

He jumped in the water and swam to the woman.

"She was on her last limb. she had already bobbed a couple times," he said.

He pulled her up to his boat while family members screamed at him to look into the water. Millgate said he didn't know why his family was asking him to keep looking.

"I didn't know there was a second," he said.

Crews recovered the body of the husband a few hours later around 7 p.m. Wasatch County search and rescue crews using sonar to find the man's body 75 feet under the water, Patterson said. A Summit County crew used a remote underwater vehicle to retrieve the body.

His name was not released Saturday. The wife did not suffer any injuries.

Millgate said he was glad he could save the woman but wished he could have done more.

"I'm not a hero," he said. "Saved one, but … that other dude drowned at my feet somewhere."

"If they'd have had their life jackets on, obviously we wouldn't be doing a body recovery today," Patterson said. "So the message I would share is life jackets save lives."

Contributing: Sean Moody


Ashley Stilson is a graduate of Utah State University, working as an intern for the Deseret News. Contact her at astilson@deseretnews.com.