Low water levels may have led to deaths

By: Samantha Andre Email
By: Samantha Andre Email

First at Five, May 27, 2008

LAKE THURMOND--- Two men drowned two weekends in a row at Lake Thurmond. Experts say low water levels may be causing these problems.

A little island has become a trouble spot at the lake. Two people died trying to swim from the shore out to it.

Some say the low lake level is why people are going out farther. The part people are supposed to swim in is now just sand.

"That's completely out of water. That's what people were intended to swim in, but they're venturing out in the main bodies of the lake," said Corporal Ryan Swain.

He says that trek can be a dangerous one because there are drop-offs in the lake.Within a yard, people can go from being in three feet of water to being in fifteen feet.

"You see from the things that happened, unfortunately, you just you don't know, and so I definitely would think twice before you do it," said Collette Wolfgram the aquatics director at the Wilson YMCA.

She says when people are swimming, they may not really realize how far they're going.

"A hundred yards is a lot further than people think," she said.

That hundred yards led to the death of 27-year-old Olvin Interiano on Memorial Day, and 20-year-old Serr Master Dozier the weekend before.

Wolfgram says sometimes people get nervous and make bad decisions when they think they've gone too far in the water.

"So that's where your swim lessons come back into play, where you learn your survival float," she said.

She recommends people of all ages take swim lessons, especially to learn what to do if you get in trouble.

She says it's best to start early. Classes at the YMCA start at just six-months-old, but she says adults shouldn't be embarassed to take them, too.

"A lot of them will come to us thinking that they're gonna be the only one in the class and we max out with 20-something sometimes," Wolfgram said.

She hopes those classes will continue to fill up, and maybe prevent more tragedies like the ones on the lake.

"It's just a reminder that we need to not take for granted the water below us," she said.


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