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Sandy • Search and rescue workers recovered the body of a 22-year-old Taylorsville man from Bell Canyon on Tuesday, two days after he fell into its surging, runoff-swollen creek while hiking with friends.
Unified police Lt. Brian Lohrke confirmed that the remains of Siaosi Brown were secured near the creek's lower falls area and then were loaded onto a Department of Public Safety helicopter about 9 a.m.
"The effort boiled down to hands and ropes," Lohrke said. "The water was flowing so hard, and he was so deep in the water, that they had to make a kind of human shield of rescuers so other rescuers could harness and pulled him out."
The body was secured, loaded onto the helicopter and flown to a nearby police command post. There, members of Brown's family were given time to be with the remains and mourn before the body was turned over to the state medical examiner's office.
Family members did not want to speak with reporters, instead releasing a statement through UPD, which said they "would like to thank everyone for the assistance in locating and retrieving their brother. They see what everyone is doing for them and appreciate it all but they are grieving and want that time to grieve."
Added Lohrke: "[For the family, there is] a sense of relief that this part is over, but now the grieving stage just really kicks in because they just lost their 22-year-old brother."
"Such a young age, such a tragic accident, this [prolonged rescue] was just compounding that tragedy," he added. "We're glad, definitely, that we could bring their family member back to them."
The body had been located by a helicopter crew late Monday morning, but unsafe conditions resulted in recovery workers postponing efforts until Tuesday.
Brown entered the cold, rushing waters of the creek in the "first falls" area Sunday. Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said two friends crossed the creek, but when Brown crossed, he fell in.
One friend tried and failed to rescue Brown, Winder had said. That friend exited the creek. They then called 911.
The search was suspended overnight and resumed shortly after dawn Monday. About two hours into the search Monday, the helicopter crew spotted Brown's body.
Brown is one of multiple people over the years who have fallen and died in the creek and the falls, which are part of Lone Peak Wilderness Area and where warning signs are forbidden. Winder on Monday said education is a way to curb the deaths.
"The wilderness we enjoy has inherent risks," he said. "Trying to modify it is unrealistic financially and environmentally."
Heavy snowmelt, brought on by recent high temperatures, has brought repeated warnings from public safety officials to exercise extra care when near northern Utah's full rivers, streams and creeks.
Brown is the seventh person to have drowned in Utah since this season's spring runoff began, according to Brian McInerney, of the National Weather service in Salt Lake City.
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