Aug 202012

Dive teams recovered the body of a 21-year-old Turkish woman Thursday night who drowned along with her friend Wednesday in Lake Powell.

At about 6:30 p.m., dive teams found Betul Eryildirim, 21, in 30 feet of water, close to where the other woman was found a day prior.

Kane County sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Alldredge said a boater discovered the body of Merve Tokel, also 21, floating face down in the lake on the Utah-Arizona border about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. Witnesses told investigators that Tokel had last been seen with Eryildirim swimming near a beach in Crappie Cove, not far from Bullfrog Marina.

“Both just walked down to the beach to swim for a couple of hours,” Alldredge said.

Deputies, divers and a helicopter had looked for Eryildirim into Wednesday evening before suspending the search, which resumed Thursday morning and continued into the afternoon. The Lake Powell National Park Service dive team and a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

Alldredge said the victims’ bodies have been sent to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office for further investigation. Foul play was not suspected. Since there were no witnesses, police can only assume they were accidental drownings.

Alldredge said the two Turkish women were employed for the summer by Aramark, a national food service company, and working in the Bullfrog area at a concession stand at the park. The women were good friends, with their birth dates only eight days apart, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

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