18-Year-Old Millville Man Drowns in Cutler Dam Canal
A Millville man drowned in Cutler Dam canal northwest of Logan Tuesday evening. Box Elder County Officials have identified him as 18-year-old Francisco Isreal Hilera.
17-year-old Jens Anderson attended Mountain Crest High School with Hilera. He said he often rides down Cutler Dam canal with his friends.
“Yeah, I’ve been a few times," Andersen said. "It’s really fun. You just go hike up a little trail like a mile or two. I’ve always gone with a life jacket. You float back down to your car and there’s like, these bars across, there’s like three sets of them and they’re like monkey bars. You swing across them and stuff, and it’s really fun.”
Many locals swim and fish in the canal. But Dale Ward, the chief deputy of the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, says the canal is dangerous.
“The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how strong a swimmer you are, it doesn’t matter how good of physical condition you’re in, you can get quickly caught up in the swift undercurrent in these canals and you can get in a bad situation in a hurry," Ward said.
That’s what happened to Hilera, who was fishing and swimming with a group of six young adults Tuesday evening. The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office says he went down the river with three friends and intended to grab an overhead flume, but missed it and floated further down the canal. The others saw him go under the water, and said he appeared to be in distress. That was at 5:40 p.m.
The group called the Box Elder County Communications Center, and a search and rescue effort began. At 9 p.m., Hilera's body was found and pronounced dead at the scene. His body has been sent to the state medical examiner.
“Our deepest sympathy goes to the family in this tragedy, but this could have all been avoided," Ward said.
Ward says the canal is private property and those who are caught there could be charged for criminal trespassing.
“They shouldn’t be there and they shouldn’t be trespassing, but the primary reason they shouldn’t be there is it is dangerous," Ward said. "They shouldn’t be in the canals.”