‘Troubling’ increase in CSRA drownings raises calls for caution

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT|Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 8:17 AM EDT
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GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Six drownings in our area in the last month. The latest victim 24-year-old Mikell Waters from Grovetown. Waters drowned Thursday night while swimming in the old quarry at the Euchee Creek Trails.

We spoke with the Columbia County Coroner’s Office, which said when staff showed up, two people were on scene. They didn’t know Waters. But when he jumped in and didn’t resurface, they dove in to find him.

The family says 24-year-old Waters could light up a room with his smile. He was the life of the party. And a strong Christian man.

But on another scorching hot day, another tragic drowning.

“To have this many drownings this early, I mean, we haven’t even made it Memorial Day yet, and we are already seeing a good number of these across the state. That is troubling,” said Mark McKinnon of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

McKinnon says it’s unusual. But in natural bodies of water, things can change quick.

“Within an hour, you can have a totally different environment under the water than you had the hour before,” he said.

Especially in an old quarry where there’s often jagged rocks around the banks.

Officials warn about water safety as latest local drowning victim is mourned and preparations are made for the funeral of another.

“They look just like any other lake, but then as you begin to walk out into them you are going to encounter very steep and severe drop-offs,” he said.

Grovetown Public Safety says this is the first drowning they can remember in city limits in about 22 years.

But it left behind a wife, mother, and father, two brothers, and friends devastated.

A tough reflection as we reflect on another life filled with love and joy gone too soon.

And as we approach this holiday weekend, DNR says that 99 percent of drownings can be prevented by wearing a life jacket. So for anyone out on the water this weekend remember the best way to have a good time is to have a good time safely.

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