Sheriff's Office Boat

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the body of a 7-year-old boy from the Flaming Gorge.

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Officials recovered the bodies of a Rock Springs man and his 7-year-old son in the Flaming Gorge following an ATV accident.

Around 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, deputies responded to a report of two missing persons near the Firehole Canyon and Sage Creek area of the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Deputies learned that a 34-year-old Rock Springs man and his 7-year-old son were last seen leaving their campsite in an all-terrain vehicle around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6. An eyewitness reported that the pair never returned to camp in the side-by-side.

After searching through the night, deputies discovered an oil slick and debris floating on the surface of the water below a 200-foot cliff around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, according to a press release.

Search and rescue and dive team personnel were dispatched to assist deputies in their rescue efforts. Around midday Saturday, divers located and recovered a submerged all-terrain vehicle in the immediate area of the surface debris. Deputies also recovered the body of the father from inside of the vehicle.

A body matching the description of the missing boy was recovered around 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Big Firehole Canyon area of the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

After a Monday morning search of the water with negative results by their marine unit, the Sheriff’s Office enlisted the help of side-scan sonar experts from Sublette County’s Tip Top Search and Rescue team.

The boy was found after nearly 12 hours of side-sonar scanning by experts with Sublette County’s Tip Top Search and Rescue team and several follow-up dive attempts by volunteers from the Sweetwater County Dive Team.

“Early Tuesday morning, we deployed maritime assets from Tip Top and our Marine Unit, volunteers from our dive team, and several communications and support elements on the ground from the Sheriff’s Office. At times throughout the day, wind and diving conditions were less than ideal, but everyone was focused on the same thing. It’s a tragic situation, but we’re just grateful to have located this child,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deputy Jason Mower said.

Sheriff John Grossnickle said, “Some times horrific and unexplainable things happen to otherwise good people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our hearts hurt for this family, but we find some solace in being able to provide them with the closure that they deserve. This would not have been possible without the help and cooperation of everyone involved.”

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