Priscilla Bienkowski and Sophia Hernandez remain missing after the teens were swept away in a sudden storm at Utah Lake 5 days ago as investigators fear their deaths.
Search and rescue teams continue to search Utah Lake in the hope of finding two Utah teens still alive after being caught in a storm while tubing on Wednesday.
Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, and Sophia Hernandez, 17, from Saratoga Springs are believed to have been on pool floats in the Knolls area on the southwest side of the lake on Wednesday when windy conditions moved in.
Family and friends are holding out hope that the two best friends will be found alive after their floating device was found. Concerns mount as each day passes that the two teen girls may have drowned.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office has said his office is not ruling out the possibility that the pair may have gotten out somehow, since there are no witness accounts of the girls actually going underwater and not coming back up.
Storms on Utah Lake are notorious for suddenly appearing.
Day 4: 25-30 SAR @UtahLake, still no sign of 17-year-old Sophia Hernandez and 18 year-old Priscilla Bienkowski.
Family members tell me they spent the day searching & handing out flyers. Vigil tonight 8 pm on West side of Lake- Knolls Area.@KSL5TV @UCSO pic.twitter.com/sRIH539CWg
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) May 9, 2020
‘We don’t like the word, ‘recovery,’ but we’re leaning that direction,’
‘As a mother, of course you can think the worst. But I’m trying to be positive and trying to keep a level head because it’s not going to serve me or anyone to just lose it and lose my cool,’ Sepulveda, Bienkowski‘s mother told ABC 4.
‘I need to be strong for myself. I have other children and I have lots of family and I need to be strong for Priscilla because this is how she would want me to be,’ she said.
‘Priscilla, if you see this message. I want to know to know that miracles do happen. Your family are all here and we’re just praying that we will see you again.’
Despite hope for the seemingly impossible, authorities are now beginning to call the search missing a ‘recovery of bodies.’
‘We don’t like the word, ‘recovery,’ but we’re leaning that direction, simply because if the girls were someplace besides in the lake, we don’t have any reason to believe that they wouldn’t be in contact with family. This is extremely out of character for them,’ Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.
‘As minutes go by, hope diminishes and all the evidence we have suggests they went into the lake. We have an eyewitness who saw them a short distance of where they entered.’
Community members had organized a candlelight vigil for Priscilla and Sophia, Saturday night.