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Olympic champion Rulon Gardner, two others survive plane crash in Lake Powell

Published February 25, 2007 6:52 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 6:36 PM- Three Utah men, including an Olympic gold medalist and an American Fork business owner, battled the elements overnight after their plane crashed into Lake Powell Saturday.

Rulon Garnder, a two-time Olympic champion and three-time national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, was a passenger in the Cirrus SR 22 small aircraft that plunged into the lake's frigid waters Saturday afternoon, police said.

Gardner, along with the pilot Randy Brooks and his brother Leslie Brooks, swam in the 44 degree water for more than an hour to the shore at Good Hope Bay near the Garfield and San Juan county border, according to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.

After spending a night with no fire or shelter, the group flagged down a fisherman early Sunday and were taken to the Bullfrog Marina. The men were treated by doctors in American Fork for hypothermia to their feet, police said. The extent of the injuries, which officers called non-life threatening, are not currently known.

Steven Luckesen, district ranger for National Park Service at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, says the three are "very, very lucky."

"It takes only about 30 minutes for someone swimming in 44 degree water to start suffering severe effects of hypothermia, so the fact that they swam in it for a hour, not to mention surviving the plane crash and the night without fire or shelter, is pretty amazing," he said.




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