To search and serve: Diver describes Quail Creek body recovery mission

WASHINGTON COUNTY – The Washington County Search and Rescue Dive Team worked through the night Monday and into the early morning hours Tuesday to successfully recover a car and a body that rested 28 feet at the bottom of Quail Creek Reservoir.

READ MORE: News LIVE: Rescuers pull car, body out of Quail Creek Reservoir

The red compact Ford passenger car was located under the water at approximately 11:15 p.m. Monday, Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said, with a woman’s body discovered in the car around 11:40 p.m.

Police received an initial call prompting an investigation just before 8:30 p.m. from a Brigham Young University geology group visiting the area. The group reported hearing a loud crash while they were on the other side of the reservoir at around 5:45 p.m.

At that time, the group observed a cloud of dust and something in the water slowly sinking, but said they were unable to identify what it was because they were too far away. As the group made their way around the reservoir, they said they discovered broken glass and a hub cap, and decided to call police.

The Washington County Search and Rescue Dive Team, including six volunteers, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hurricane Police Department, and State Park Rangers all responded to the scene.

Dell Pulsipher, who has been a volunteer with the Search and Rescue Dive Team since 1992, located the car and discovered the woman’s body inside.

With visibility varying from around 4 feet to 5 feet, the dive team made a perimeter search of the area and located the car within 15 minutes, Dell Pulsipher said, approximately 150 feet offshore, upside down, in about 30 feet of water.

“Each time you go down, especially in visibility as bad as this was,” he said, “is that you have to be real careful to stay off the bottom (and) stay out of the silt because any, just even a kick of a fin, will stir that silt up to where your visibility goes.”

Search and rescue team members on scene said they thought the woman was wearing a seat belt, although Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said on scene he could not confirm that to be the case pending completion of their investigation.

“Well you look at a situation like this,” Dell Pulsipher said of this type of recovery effort, “or anything that deals with search and rescue, and if you can imagine that was your mom or that was your dad or a brother or sister and you don’t know – and to be able to have someone find that to bring you that peace of mind, I don’t think there’s anything better than that.”

“That’s how you have to look at it in the eyes of being able to be of service,” he said, “and there’s no better service than being able to help someone in need.”

The Hurricane City Police Department is heading the investigation into what may have caused the woman to leave the roadway and crash into the reservoir.

Although there are no skid marks on the road, there are marks to indicate where the woman went off roadway, Buell said.

“That area up there,” he said, “there is a little overlook in that area, and there is a curve that goes around it.”

As this report is published, the identity of the woman who died has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

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