Flaming Gorge Drowning Victim Identified as John M. Henderson Of Green River

Flaming Gorge Drowning Victim Identified as John M. Henderson Of Green River
SDT divers and Cliff Walgren prepare to enter the water.
Green River Fire Department Ice Rescue Team member Cliff Walgren attempts to reach John Henderson on Monday afternoon.

SWEETWATER COUNTY — According to a Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Press Release a Green River man lost his life Monday when he went through the ice on Flaming Gorge.

According to a joint release issued by Sweetwater County Sheriff Mike Lowell and County Coroner Dale Majhanovich, the body of John M. Henderson, 61, was recovered around 11:15 AM Tuesday by emergency responders from the Sweetwater Dive Team and the Green River Fire Department Ice Rescue Team.

Officials said that two Green River men were in the Lost Dog area along the west bank of Flaming Gorge, about 13 miles south of Green River, on Monday, working to retrieve a four-wheeler that had previously broken through the ice. The two reported to deputies that they were using a chain saw to cut into the ice and when they shut it off, heard Henderson, who had been ice fishing alone, calling for help.

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The pair saw that Henderson had gone through the ice and into the water and tried to reach him with a rope, but were unsuccessful. They then retrieved a canoe from their vehicle and attempted to reach him with that, but Henderson went out of sight and they were unable to do so. They then hiked up to an altitude where they could get a cell phone signal and contacted the county’s Combined Communications Center in Green River around 2:00 PM.

Deputy Sheriffs Derek Morrell and Trevor Kirkwood, in addition to Lieutenant Jason Love, all of the Sheriff’s Office, responded to the report, as did Green River Fire Chief  Larry Erdmann and firefighters Cliff Walgren, Jamie Walgren, Ian Parker, and Casey Kendall, all of the GRFD’s specially trained and equipped Ice Rescue Team.

Stoutly tethered and wearing an ice rescue suit, Cliff Walgren tried to reach the spot where Henderson had gone under, but to no avail.

Members of the all-volunteer Sweetwater Dive Team, Jack and Jeanie Weimer, Todd Dulaney, Ray Koivusaari, Mike Hruska, Gary Pastor, Cory Slane, Scott Shields, and Kelly Richards, along with sheriff’s deputies, responders from Sweetwater County Emergency Management, and Chief Erdmann and Cliff Walgren of the Ice Rescue Team, assembled at the scene for a recovery operation Tuesdaymorning. Emergency medical responders from the Castle Rock Ambulance Service were on hand to monitor the condition of recovery team members.

Jack Weimer carried out the dive, with Jeanie Weimer serving as backup diver. Henderson’s body was found about 100 yards from the west bank in approximately 38 feet of water.

Majhanovich said foul play is not suspected in Henderson’s death, which was the apparent result of hypothermia and drowning. Officials pointed out that the unseasonably warm temperatures of late likely contributed to unsafe ice conditions on the lake.

-From a press release

On Tuesday, Sweetwater Dive Team members move the Ice Rescue Team’s boat across the ice toward the dive site.