12 drownings, including five in region, prompt safety warnings

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Five drownings in the region iand 12 in the state in the last two weeks have state conservation officers stressing the need for safety on the state’s popular lakes.

With the recent summer-like temperatures and the re-opening of the economy from the coronavirus shutdown have many people have been getting outdoors, but a fun day swimming or boating can turn tragic in a matter of seconds.

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As of Friday afternoon, 12 drownings have happened on state waterways since the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The victims ranged from 17 to 52 years old. Each has been male, and the majority have been under age 30.

The search for one of those continues on Lake Herington in Boyle County.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is advising “everyone to be safe.”

“Swimming in a lake or jumping into a stream is much different from swimming in a pool,” Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Rich Storm said. “There are no lifeguards. There are no walls to grab onto. There is often debris and logs that can entrap or injure you. The bottom can drop off sharply. The water can be cold and the current deceptively swift. Fatigue can set in quickly. It’s critical to know your abilities as a swimmer and do not take any chances.”

Other precautions the American Red Cross recommends:

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket around the water.
  • Don’t swim by yourself.
  • In the event of an emergency, do not go in because you could become a victim yourself. Instead, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble.
  • Supervise children around water and avoid distractions. Stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  • In group situations, designate a water watcher whose sole responsibility it is to oversee the activity in the water.

It is important to remember that swimming anywhere near a lock and dam can be dangerous because of unpredictable water levels and dangerous currents. Lifejackets must be worn when boating in hazardous areas near dams.