Utah State Parks Blog

Man Dead After Drowning at Deer Creek State Park

July 22, 2022

DEER CREEK STATE PARK, Utah — A teenager is dead following an accidental drowning at Deer Creek State Park on Sunday. 

On June 19, 2022, at approximately 4:30 p.m., park rangers were alerted to an ongoing incident involving two individuals swimming off of a boat near the Sailboat Beach area. 

The teen, 18-year- old John Ballan of Zulia, Venezuela was visiting the reservoir with friends and family. At one point, when the boat had stopped, one of Ballan’s family members had entered the water for a swim. The family member began to struggle to keep their head above the water. Ballan then jumped into the water to assist the swimmer but also began struggling. 

Neither John Ballan nor the original swimmer was wearing a life jacket at the time. While the air temperature was in the mid-’80s, the surface water temperature was 64 degrees with waves and high winds. 

Witnesses to the incident arrived on personal watercraft to assist the struggling swimmers. The original family member was successfully rescued and taken to shore. Unfortunately, Ballan was not able to be rescued. 

Utah Division of State Parks Law Enforcement Rangers, Wasatch County Sheriff’s deputies, Wasatch County Search and Rescue, and the Outdoor Recreation ROV team all responded to the area soon after and began the search for Ballan. 

At approximately 11:30 p.m that night, the team recovered John Ballan’s body from the water.

The Utah Division of State Parks extends our condolences to Ballan’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. Checking weather conditions and water temperatures is also vital. To learn more about Utah’s state parks, safety tips, and laws and rules, visit stateparks.utah.gov.

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