Walter Greer, 3, killed by boat propeller in Utah

Walter Greer, age 3

Walter Greer, age 3

Walter Greer, age 3 from Salt Lake City, was on a wakeboard boat with his family. They were on Echo Reservoir northwest of Coalville (Utah) Sunday, August 13, 2023.

About 4:45pm Walter Greer fell from the wakeboard boat. Walter was fatally struck by the boat propeller.

Walter was wearing a life jacket when he fell overboard and when his body was recovered.

The young boy liked Spiderman, trucks, boots, and trains.

The Boat & Official Comments

Utah Division of State Parks representative Devan Chavez said the family was water skiing behind a wakeboard style boat at the time of the accident.

Wakeboard boat in Walter Greer fatal boat propeller accident at Echo Reservoir, Utah.

Wake board boat in Walter Greer boat propeller accident on Echo Reservoir.

The open bow wakeboard boat appears to be a Pickle Fork design. It is a little broader at the front of the bow than traditional wakeboard boats.

Park Rangers recovered the young boy’s body. Authorities pronounced Walter Greer dead at the scene.

Police do not suspect foul play or DUI, and report it was just “an unfortunate and tragic accident.”

Agencies Responding

Agencies responding to the accident included:

  • Utah State Parks
  • Utah State Bureau of Investigation
  • Summit County Sheriff’s Office
  • Utah Highway Patrol
  • North Summit Flyer District
  • University of Utah Health AirMed
  • Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation

A GoFundMe page for Walter Enslin Greer identified Walter’s parents as Alex and Doug.

How Did The Accident Happen?

Few details other than it being a wakeboard style boat have been provided thus far.

As is typically the case, many online comments are highly critical of the family. They jump to all kinds of negative conclusions with few details provided.

We will join in the speculation.

The Details / Facts

About the only details are:

1. The boy was on the wakeboard boat with his family. No total number of people is provided. However, it was him, his parents, his two older sisters, and another family.

2. The boy was wearing a life jacket.

3. No obvious DUI issues.

4. Walter Greer was fatally struck by the propeller at what news report call “the back of the boat”. Comment – this is an inboard powered boat. The propeller is back up under the sun deck and the transom a ways.

5. Most reports say Walter was obviously dead when his body was retrieved from the water by a Park Ranger. A few reports say lifesaving attempts were made. They said the recovery of Walter Greer’s body was not difficult and they did not have to search for it.

6. The wakeboard boat had an open bow per the photograph.

7. A spokesperson for Utah Division of State Parks said they were water skiing at the time of the accident.

8. Walter Greer was 3 years old.

9. It is quite normal for early facts surrounding an accident to be in error.

One Possible Conclusion

NOTE- this possible conclusion is pure speculation made on unverified facts.

Given the details above, it “sounds like” the young boy likely fell into the water somewhere over the gunnel forward of the rear half of the boat. If he had fallen overboard near the stern and they were actually water skiing (in a straight line), it is a challenging to envision him being pulled into the propeller. If they were wakeboarding it becomes more possible to be pulled into the propeller from the back half of the boat. This is due to the back of the boat typically being very deep into the water and the propeller pulling very hard at a slower speeds than water skiing.

Walter Greer probably did not fall overboard in the area of the seats right behind the windshield unless he was being held and was somehow released. But he looks like a large boy to be being held.

That leaves the open bow or the area behind the operators seat on back to about the midpoint of the boat.

His body wearing a life jacket and not being retrieved from the water til a Park Ranger arrived leads one to believe he may have been entrapped on the propeller or it may have been a catastropic propeller strike.

We anticipate more information may be forthcoming.

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