In what a Utah county sheriff tells Fox 13 is the "single worst tragedy I have seen on this lake," a Utah man, his two daughters, and their teenage friend died when a boating trip on Bear Lake went horribly wrong on Monday. Details of the hours after Dr. Lance Capener's boat capsized in the lake, which sits along the Utah-Idaho border, are still unclear. But it appears that the 46-year-old may have been trying to keep the girls alive until his last breath, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. There had been seven aboard the boat, and Capener's wife and two teenage family friends survived the accident. All had life jackets on, but the Rich County sheriff's office says they all experienced some degree of hypothermia; the Ogden physician was dead by the time rescuers pulled the group from the 53-degree water, the AP reports.
His daughters, 13-year-old Kelsey and 7-year old Kilee, were flown to the hospital, but they died hours later, as did their friend, 13-year old Siera Hadley. "He would not come back without his children," Capener's mother tells the Tribune. "I feel that's why he died, trying to save the others." She notes her son was a marathoner and strong swimmer, but adds "that's a very bad lake; it can come up with squalls." The sheriff tells KSL that the ski boat capsized during a storm that created waves up to 10 feet high; the group was in the cold water for at least three hours while rescuers searched the 112-square-mile lake. "The waves were white capping. … It took a lot of effort to find that boat," he says. When they did locate it 6 miles from the Bear Lake State Park Marina in Utah, "I actually performed CPR on two of these victims. You look at the kids and you see your own kids or your own grandkids in their faces and it becomes very difficult for the responders." (Read more Utah stories.)