Yesterday a group of teens swimming in the swift current of the Big River saw first-hand how quickly a strong swimmer can get into trouble. Fourteen-year-old Devon Cotton went under while trying to swim across the river and never resurfaced. Search and rescue crews continue to search, but the teen likely drowned in the swift waters.
The area where the teens were swimming, Rockford Beach State Park in Jefferson County, is known for swift currents and dangerous eddys. In fact, the High Ridge Fire Department uses the spot with the eddy to train their employees in water rescue techniques. A website for the park states the current is swift and strong, swimming conditions are dangerous, and no life guard is on duty.
A river is the most dangerous place to swim, especially after heavy rains and flooding. In addition to the swift moving current and eddys – there is also a lot of debris in the water. Swimmers can get sucked into an eddy and then get caught on submerged logs and boulders. The force of the current makes it nearly impossible to extract yourself from this type of situation.
Swimming in a river, stream or lake is very different than swimming in a pool. People are urged to take extra precautions and be very diligent about wearing life jackets – even if you know how to swim. Even the best swimmer can get swept off their feet and pulled into a treacherous current that is too strong.
The American Red Cross offers these safety tips for enjoying rivers, streams and lakes safely this summer.
Casey & Devoti is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. Together Matt Casey and Matt Devoti have nearly 40 years of trial experience handling a variety of personal injury matters. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.