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Wellington boy loses life in sand dunes

Caleb Williams poses with his many awards. He was a world class wrestler who brought many national trophys to the Carbon area.

Sun Advocate publisher

A Wellington youth who was with a boy scout troop in Utah's west desert died on Friday evening when a sand cave he and some other children dug collapsed on top of him.

Caleb Williams, 12, was dead at the scene when he was removed from the collapsed sand cave 30 minutes after the incident occurred, according to Deputy Brent Pulver of the Juab County Sheriffs Department.

Williams was with a scout troop from Mapleton when the accident occurred.

"He apparently was not part of the troop, but was with a friend who was part of the troop," said Pulver on Monday morning. "Our department got the call at 7:55 p.m. and our deputies in the area responded immediately."

The call that came in was routed through the Millard County dispatch because the Little Sahara Sand Dunes are closer to the Millard County seat than they are to Juab County.

"Cell phone service is spotty at best at Jericho," said Pulver. "Once the call came in our deputies responded along with the Eureka Fire Department and Ambulance."

The Little Sahara Sand Dunes is in a remote area of Juab County and is best known as huge Easter Break venue in the spring for people with ATV's and sand buggies. The incident occurred where Chaplin Point Road runs along the dues.

Williams was buried under about six feet of sand when his friends and the adults accompanying the troop began to dig. When deputies arrived they also labored to free the boy.

"It was apparent he had passed away when they extracted him from the sand," said Pulver. However he was transported by ambulance to Central Valley Hospital in Nephi where he was pronounced dead.

Williams was known across the state and the nation for his wrestling skills. Many considered him to be as good at the age of 12 that Cael Sanderson, from Heber, was when he was that age. Sanderson went on to be a Utah State high school champion, went undefeated in his four years at Iowa State in NCAA wrestling and later became an Olympic champion.

Williams had 32 national and 17 state championships since he began wrestling at an early age and had only lost 12 times in his entire wrestling career. Last year he won the American Crown Award after racking up 12 national championship titles. Only eight wrestlers nationwide have ever received this award and Williams was the first from Utah to do it.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at noon at the Wellington LDS Stake Center. Viewing will be at the stake center Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday one hour prior to services.

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