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April 17, 2021

Man who drowned at Park City hotel pool identified as US Naval Academy student

PARK CITY — A 22-year-old North Carolina man who drowned Monday evening at a Park City hotel has been identified as a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman.

John Johnson, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, died at the Westgate Hotel on Monday evening after he began practicing underwater breathing, but didn’t resurface. The naval academy identified Johnson in a Wednesday news release.

Summit County sheriff’s deputies responded to the hotel at 3000 Canyons Resort Drive around 9:45 p.m., according to a news release from the department.

Johnson, who was on leave from the naval academy, was with three friends at the outdoor pool at the hotel. The group had been drinking alcohol throughout the day, and Johnson told his friends he was going to practice underwater breathing and attempt to hold his breath for longer than he had before, according to the press release.

After about five minutes, the group was concerned that Johnson had not resurfaced, and they jumped in the pool and pulled him out. He was unconscious and not breathing, and the group performed CPR until medical personnel arrived, the press release said.

When they arrived, medical personnel continued performing life-saving measures on Johnson, but he was transported to Park City Medical Center, where he was declared dead, according to the release.

Johnson, a senior majoring in mathematics at the naval academy, ranked near the top of his class, according to the academy’s news release. He had been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Association Leadership Award for the 2019 academic year, and served as a company platoon commander this year, the release said.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the death of Midshipman John Johnson,” Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, said in the release. “My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of our Naval Academy family here in Annapolis including the many midshipmen, faculty, staff who had formed deep bonds with John, extend our heartfelt condolences to the Johnson family.”

Johnson had been conducting research on matroid invariants and error correcting codes; and participated in several mathematics competitions, the math and chess clubs, and intramurals at the naval academy, the release said.

“If I were to describe John in one word, it would be ‘passion,'” 29th Company Officer Lt. Eric Nordquist said in the release. “He epitomized and excelled in every area, and earned the respect of everyone who crossed his path. He will be sorely missed by the 29th Company in so many ways.”


Jacob Klopfenstein

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