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Swimmer drowns at Huntington Lake in Sunday accident

A Huntington man drowned Sunday afternoon at Huntington Lake State Park.

Witnesses said the victim, Joseph Ray Hoover, 20, was swimming with friends in the Cove area of the lake when he became tired. His friends, two girls, tried to swim to him, but were unable to hang onto him.

The girls reached shore and called 911 at 2:31 p.m. Park Ranger Larry Johansen and Deputy Kurt Price were on scene at the boat dock on an unrelated matter when the call came in. They immediately jumped in the state park’s boat and raced across the lake. They were unable to locate the victim.

Divers from the Emery County Sheriff’s Office and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office conducted an underwater search, joined by the Emery County Search and Rescue and the Huntington and Cleveland fire departments . The victim’s body was located and recovered at 9:50 p.m. He has been sent to the medical examiner’s office.

Emery County Sheriff LaMar Guymon said, "We would like to thank the state park rangers, our deputies, Carbon County personnel and all the many volunteers who aided in the search. Everyone was very cooperative, including the boaters who were asked to clear the lake while the search was carried out. We want to thank the state boat for their rapid response in getting here and searching for the victim. Several citizens at the lake at the time volunteered their life jackets, boats and jet skis for the rescuers."

The sheriff urged boaters and swimmers to wear lifejackets and know their limitations.

Mr. Hoover was formerly from Price and had recently moved to Huntington, the sheriff said.

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