GARDEN CITY, Rich County — Several northern Utah communities were in mourning Tuesday over the deaths of a doctor, two of his daughters and a teenage friend during a tragic outing on Bear Lake.
But communities were also rallying to show support for the three survivors.
Dr. Lance Capener, 45, of Pleasant View, and his daughters Kelsey, 13, and Kiley, 7, died after their boat was capsized during a storm with high winds Monday. Siera Hadley, 13, of Harrisville, also died from injuries suffered in the accident.
Capener's wife, Kathryn, 42, survived and remained at Logan Regional Hospital Tuesday, but her condition improved and she was moved out of the intensive care unit.
In a statement, Capener family members said they are "heartbroken over the loss of our beloved Lance" as well as "bubbly" Kelsey and "sweet and angelic" Kiley and their "dear friend" Siera.
The family thanked the rescuers and first responders who found them after the boat overturned in the windstorm, got them out of the water and treated them.
"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support that has been shown from ward members, friends, neighbors and co-workers," the family said.
Rich County sheriff's deputies believe the group of seven was in the cold 53-degree water for at least three hours while search and rescue crews worked to locate them.
Rescue crews received a call about 6:15 p.m. Monday reporting the boat missing. High winds capsized the ski boat as it traveled from North Beach in Idaho to the Bear Lake State Park Marina in Utah, deputies said.
At that time, a storm packing winds of up to 70 mph was racing across the lake, producing waves up to 6 feet high, according to officials.
"The winds were so bad, it was hard to hear anything or see anything," said Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey. "The waves were white-capping. … It took a lot of effort to find that boat."
Three helicopters assisted in the search along with local boat owners. The boat and all seven occupants were eventually located 6 miles north of the Bear Lake Marina.
All seven who had been in the boat were wearing life jackets, but by the time rescue crews reached them, they were unresponsive. Stacey said he helped pull the group out of the water and onto rescue boats.
"I actually performed CPR on two of these victims. And it's difficult when it's kids. You look at the kids and you see your own kids or your own grandkids in their faces, and it becomes very difficult for the responders," the sheriff said.
Two other girls who were in the boat, Tiffany Stoker, 14, and Tylinn Tilley, 14, were treated at Logan Regional Hospital and were released Tuesday.
"The whole group of girls, they're just top-notch. They're just as perfect as you can get. They're the kind of girls that I hoped my daughter would look up to and continue to look up to," said family friend Jenifer Allen, who also taught all but one of the girls in grade school.
"They're the kind of girls everyone wanted to be friends with. (I) never heard them say anything ill about anyone else. Good students, good athletes," she said. "Super strong girls. Super sweet. They just kind of had a glow and a life to them."
Allen said she talked to one of the teens released from the hospital Tuesday. She said she was doing well physically but was struggling mentally.
"They were her best buds," Allen said of the young girls who died.
Allen was Siera's LDS Church young women’s leader and knew her best. She said Siera would babysit her children and they loved having her over.
"She had a really lovely, infectious personality," Allen said. "She always had a good attitude. … They all did, actually."
Shortly after leaving the hospital, Tiffany was helping others hang orange ribbons — Siera's favorite color — in Siera's neighborhood where friends were showing support for her family. Friends used words such as "bubbly," "outgoing" and "overachiever" when describing her.
Well-wishers consoled one another at Allen's home, she said, and decorated the yard with bows in the other girls' favorite colors as well — purple for Kelsey and pink for Kiley.
“Everyone is devastated,” Allen said. “They were really good kids.”
Neighbors affected by the deaths were reeling and in shock Tuesday, according to Allen. The families had said they were going to Bear Lake for a combined mother-daughter outing.
"It's been a long night and a long day," Allen said. "It’s still so fresh. The only thing we can think of is to show the family we love them."
Neighbors at the Capener's home in Pleasant View, who declined to comment for this story, decorated the family's yard in ribbons. They also placed ribbons at Majestic Elementary School and Orion Junior High, where the two girls attended.
Two separate accounts have been set up in Siera's name. A GoFundMe account was set up by her family. "We lost one of the sweetest girls on Earth. We would like to help her parents with funeral costs," family members said in a description of the account. Donations can also be made at America First Credit Union under Siera K. Hadley's name to help play for funeral expenses.
Many messages of condolence were left on the Facebook page of Siera's father Tuesday.
"I am so so so sorry for your loss!! Siera will truly be missed. You all are in our prayers," one person wrote.
"I can't stop tearing up. I am praying for you and your family," wrote another, while another person wrote: "Sierra (sp) was so sweet and kind. Truly a light in this world."
Autopsies were scheduled to be performed on the victims to determine the exact causes of death. Officials believe hypothermia was likely.
After the group was found, Kelsey, Kiley and Siera were all flown in critical condition to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, where they later died. The three with less severe injuries were taken to Logan Regional Hospital. Lance Capener was pronounced dead at the scene.
Capener was a doctor at Intermountain Healthcare's South Ogden Clinic since 2009.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to all of those involved for the loss of those in the recent tragic incident," Intermountain Healthcare said in a prepared statement.
"We all want to have a different outcome than what we have, and sometimes that's just not possible," Stacey said.
Contributing: Mike Anderson, McKenzie Romero, Ben Lockhart