Third Drowning in Three Years in FW's Trinity Park

Husband of one victim says new warning signs are needed

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Jan 17, 2013  |  Updated 12:23 AM CDT
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The husband of a woman who drowned in the Trinity River at Trinity Park wants the city add larger signs in the wake of another drowning.

Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

The husband of a woman who drowned in the Trinity River at Trinity Park wants the city add larger signs in the wake of another drowning.

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Woman Drowns in Trinity River

The Fort Worth Fire Department pulled a woman's body from the Trinity River Wednesday afternoon after receiving calls of a woman yelling for help.
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A Fort Worth man whose wife drowned in the Trinity River in 2011 says more warning signs are needed after another woman died Wednesday in the same spot.

"I'd like to tell the city to do something about it, to put something bigger there," Gerardo Ladino said.

Ladino and his family were visiting Trinity Park when his 7-year-old son slipped into the river. His wife, Dania, jumped in to save him. The boy made it out, but she drowned. Ladino said he nearly drowned trying to save her.

On Wednesday, Fort Worth firefighters were called to the same area when office workers in a nearby building heard screams and saw someone struggling in the water.

When firefighters arrived, the woman was already under water. A dive team recovered her body.

The woman's identity wasn't immediately released. Fire department spokesman Lt. Tim Hardeman said the woman was in her late teens or early 20s.

She is the third person to die in the same area in less than three years. Many people walk across a rock dam which appears to be a walking path.

One sign on the bank of the river warns "Safety first, Watch your children." Another small sign, attached to the rocks themselves, is a symbol of a person walking with a circle and red line through it.

"I feel really sorry for the family that went through this today," Ladino said. "I don't have any words to tell them, especially when this should not be happening, I think."

City spokesman Bill Begley said no city officials were available to comment on the tragedy or whether the signs are enough. He also noted the river itself is owned by the Tarrant Regional Water District.

Water district spokesman Chad Lorance said the warning signs now in place are clear.

"There are inherent dangers when you're around any water," he said. "It can happen anywhere."

Ladino said the river looks deceptively calm but he quickly learned when he was trying to rescue his wife how powerful the water can be.

"The currents on the edge, it was pulling me under, so I had to let go of her to get my breath and pull myself out, too," he said.

In July 2010, a man drowned trying to save a 7-year-old girl whom he and his wife were trying to adopt. A passing bicyclist managed to save the man's wife and the girl.

"It's very slippery, and people will fall in," Hardeman said. "We do want people to know that is not a walkway."

Ladino said he hopes people are more cautious and called for stronger-worded warning signs.

"How many more is it going to take before they can understand this is dangerous?" he asked.

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