Four people, including three children, died Monday at a Utah lake when high waves and violent winds caused their boat to capsize.
The bad weather at Bear Lake in Utah hampered rescue efforts as it took at least two hours to find the missing boaters. Three others were eventually pulled from the choppy waters and were hospitalized.
Utah doctor Lance Capener, 46, took the ski boat out with his wife, Kathy, 42, their two daughters, and three of the girls’ friends, authorities said.
The group was reported missing at about 6 p.m., around the time that the temperature dropped from 80 degrees and the winds gusted up to 51 mph. The windstorm that rolled in over the nearby mountains produced high waves that also ripped a floating plastic dock to pieces at a nearby Boy Scout camp.
All seven people on the boat were wearing life jackets, but the water was 53 degrees Fahrenheit,posing a serious hypothermia risk, authorities said.
Mike Wahlerg, Garden City fire chief, said the boaters were in the water for at least two hours amid waves that reached 10 feet high and frothed in the wind as rescuers searched for them.
Rescuers reached the group and pulled them from the water, but Lance Capener died at the lake, said Utah State Parks Lt. Eric Stucki.
His daughters Kelsey Capener, 13, and Kilee Capener, 7, and their friend Sierra Hadley, 13, were flown to a Salt Lake City hospital but died early Tuesday.
Surviving members of the Capener family remembered the sisters as sweet and bubbly in a statement Tuesday.
Kathy Capener was hospitalized in the northern Utah city of Logan, along with family friends Tiffany Stoker and Tylinn Tilley, both 14 years old. The teens were released from the hospital Tuesday, Stucki said.
A few other boats were on the water at the time, but no other injuries or accidents were reported, Stucki said.
Bear Lake is about 120 miles north of Salt Lake City.
Another boating accident was reported three hours to the south, at Utah Lake. Rescuers pulled two people from the water Monday night after high winds overturned their sailboat.
The two adults involved were uninjured and wearing life vests, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.