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December 8, 2021

Family, friends remember brothers killed on Utah Lake

SARATOGA SPRINGS — It has been a day of mourning for family and friends after two brothers from West Valley City lost their lives on the waters of Utah Lake.

Jorge Anica, 33, and Manuel Anica, 21, were found by Utah County Search and Rescue teams Sunday morning.

The two had gone out on Saturday evening to test a new WaveRunner they got last summer, but they never came home.

Officials said both men, who were found about a mile away from the WaveRunner, were wearing their life jackets.

Investigators believe the two drowned in the 57-degree water.

“I just don’t want to believe it’s true, but I know it’s true,” said an emotional Ashley Blackburn, who is Jorge’s wife. “(Jorge) finally got a Saturday off, like the first Saturday he’s had off, and he wanted to go test it. He was a special person. He helped anyone and everyone, it didn’t matter.”

The couple has two children together — a 4-year-old boy named J.J. and a 3-week-old newborn named Luis.

Blackburn said the newborn just came home from the hospital on Friday.

“He didn’t even have 24 hours with the baby before he left us,” she said.

According to the family, the brothers were both experienced swimmers.

“Jorge was like a fish in the water. He could hold his breath under the water and swim like crazy,” said Blackburn.

Investigators were still trying to figure out what went wrong on the water.

“They were the most loving uncles I could have ever asked for,” said Maria Del La Rosa.

A GoFundMe account* has been set up for those wanting to help with funeral expenses.

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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