Waurika Lake Park Rangers Urge for Water Safety After Three Drownings in June

Park rangers at Waurika Lake say 2013 is already the deadliest on record when it comes to drownings.

Three separate incidents in the month of June at the lake have left three dead including a 12 year old boy.

The first took place on June 8. 

Authorities says 12-year-old Colton Parnell from Roff, Oklahoma was swimming about 40 yards from shore when witnesses say they saw the boy start struggling in the water but were unable to reach him in time.

His body was recovered on June 12.

On Friday, June 21, two men drowned in two separate incidents at the lake.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol dive team was dispatched to the lake and after a few hours of searching, recovered a 41 year old man's body near the marina at Kiowa 1.

Later that night, authorities were called out to the lake again after an 18 year old man drowned trying to retrieve a soccer ball from the lake.

The recent tragic events at Waurika Lake have park rangers again reminding folks of some important safety tips to keep in mind the next time they head to the water.

Waurika Lake Senior Park Ranger Tim Adkins says he does not want people to be scared to head out to the lake but he wants to remind everyone to mindful that a large body of water can be dangerous.

Adkins says he can't stress enough the importance of wearing a life jacket.

"We believe, unfortunately, all three of the recent events, the tragic drownings, could have been prevented if any of them would have had life jackets on," Adkins says.

"You need to choose a Coast Guard approved life jacket," Adkins says. "It needs to fit you properly. Not be in bad condition, needs to be in working condition and you don't want it too tight to restrict your movement or you don't want it too loose because it could come off of you."

Adkins says the ongoing drought is also exposing new dangers.

"We still got deep enough water to be dangerous but it also, underwater objects that you'd normally have to worry about, you do now because of the low levels," Adkins says.

In addition, Adkins says regardless of the water levels, lake-goers should know alcohol and water don't mix.    

Adkins says, "Alcohol and the heat can affect your decision making process and you can become fatigued quicker and not realize that your normal abilities are hampered by the drinking of alcohol."

He says says it is these small precautions that will allow people to have a good time at the lake and head home safely.

Adkins urges everyone to keep an eye on children in and around water. 

He says boaters can also take a boater education course.

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