UTAH COUNTY (KUTV) — Search and rescue crews with the Utah County Sheriff's Office say initial calls of a woman trapped in a kayak on the Provo River was not the case.
"We had a report of a kayaker in distress in the neighborhood of Vivian Park, Nunns Park area," Sgt. Peter Quittner with the Utah County Sheriff's Office said. "The report was the kayaker was perpendicular to the water, unable to get out of the kayak so we deployed our search and rescue team, we deployed air assets as well."
Because crews did not know the exact location of the reported kayaker, they staggered crews from the mouth of Provo Canyon past the Utah County line into Wasatch County in their search.
"We did verify it was an individual doing tricks in the water, they did make it out safely and everyone is okay," Sgt. Quittner said. "In this case it was a third party report, a passerby thought they saw somebody in distress and called 911. When we get that information, we deploy."
Deputies say that if the call wasn't so serious, the entire effort could have been avoided.
"In this case if someone just called and said there's a kayak on the water, we would have sent a patrol deputy by just to verify, in this particular case they gave us some very specific information that the kayaker was in distress so we don't hesitate in that particular situation, we deploy the team," Sgt. Quittner said.
Police think the perceived "distress signal" was a trick being done by the male kayaker.
"I think it's a miracle that we found out, just people knowing people that do tricks like this, and we were able to call him and he says 'oh, that was me, I'm okay,'" Sgt. Quittner said.
The search and rescue effort took about an hour.