According to Utah State Parks Lieutenant Tony White, his department, in conjunction with Utah Department of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, pulled the truck out because low water levels made it visible and it had become “a hazard to safe navigation on the river.”
Utah State Park Ranger Jeff Arbon added that a pedestrian first noticed the vehicle, a 1970s-era Chevy truck, while the river was low and clear last December. After a report was made to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, personnel from Moab Valley Fire Department attempted to pull the truck out on Jan. 28 — but their efforts only resulted in tearing the roof off.
According to MVFD Chief Phil Mosher, his department abandoned plans to retrieve the vehicle at that point.
“It was too dangerous at the time for us to put more divers in the river when we didn’t have to,” Mosher said. “We did a cursory search of the vehicle and determined there was no one inside the cab.”
Lt. White said the vehicle has been in the river for a number of years — but could not comment on how it ended up there. In addition to the state parks department and DFF&SL, personnel from Westco Towing, Utah High Patrol and Utah Department of Natural Resources assisted in the recovery of the vehicle.