Beware of Falling Rocks - 10/10/2007

Two killed by falling slab on Lake Powell

Celebrating Their 40th

Park Rangers say 64-year-old Donald Simmons and his wife, 59-year-old Mary Simmons from Ellicot, CO. were out on the lake Friday, Sept. 28, afternoon when a rock slab gave way and fell on their boat. "They were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary," said friend, Jim Hannahan.

The National Park Service says the approx 250-square-foot rock slab apparently fractured from the wall of a 20-foot-by-20-foot sandstone alcove where the pontoon boat was sitting and crushed its bow.

Other boaters discovered the accident Friday, saying they had passed the craft 20 minutes earlier in Lake Canyon and had waved to the two people on board, about five miles down river from Halls Crossing and Bullfrog.

Rangers recovered the body of Mrs. Simmons and a diving team was searching for her husband’s body, but Mariannee Karraker, spokeswoman for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area said underwater trees were impeding the search. The water near the search site is about 150 feet deep. An underwater robot is also being used.

The boat that capsized was registered in Colorado, Karraker said. A car with a similar registration was located at a nearby marina which led to identify the couple.

Safety Tip: Remember Murphy’s Law

If ever there was an example of Murphy’s Law in play, this is it. When it comes to boating, Murphy’s Law is probably amplified because boaters are relaxed and distracted by the scenery, wildlife, friends, sunset or whatever and are not focused on unpleasant or far-fetched “what-if” scenarios. Next time you are boating, just remember the Simmons celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and realize almost anything can happen.