Utah State Parks Blog

Fatal Accident at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

May 16, 2022

KANAB, Utah — A Utah teenager is dead following an incident at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Saturday afternoon. 

On May 14, just after 5:30 p.m., park rangers were alerted to an ongoing incident just outside the campground area. A teenager, 13-year-old Ian Spendlove of Santa Clara, Utah, had become trapped underneath the sand. Park rangers believe he had been digging a tunnel in the side of a sand dune when it unexpectedly collapsed with him inside. 

A family member who witnessed the collapse notified nearby visitors and state park staff who immediately began digging to locate Spendlove. A state park law enforcement ranger and deputies with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office arrived soon after with shovels to assist. 

Spendlove was recovered at about 5:53 p.m. approximately 6 and a half feet beneath the sand. First responders administered CPR until additional emergency personnel arrived. After confirming that Spendlove had a pulse, he was transported via Life Flight to St. George Regional Hospital and then to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. 

Unfortunately, on Sunday, Spendlove had not regained brain activity and was declared dead. 

The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ian Spendlove’s friends and family impacted by this tragedy. The incident remains under investigation. 

With the recreation season now underway, Utah State Parks would like to remind everyone that while Utah’s outdoors are beautiful places to explore, safety needs to be a top priority. Always recreate with a buddy, wear your life jackets and helmets, and always let somebody know where you are going and when to expect your return. To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, visit stateparks.utah.gov. 

Stock Photo, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

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