Lake Patrols on High Alert After 6 Drownings Since May - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Lake Patrols on High Alert After 6 Drownings Since May



    The Dallas-Fort Worth area's lake season is off to a deadly start with six drowning deaths since May. (Published Friday, June 6, 2014)

    Park Rangers and local law enforcement are making the parks around Lewisville Lake a priority after a deadly start to the summer season.

    Since the beginning of May, authorities have responded to six deaths by drowning on North Texas lakes, including two on consecutive weekends at Lewisville.

    "Some drownings are completely avoidable, some aren't,” said Denton County Game Warden Cody Pokorney. “We're just out there trying to make sure the ones that are avoidable don't happen in the future."

    Officers like Pokorney from Texas Parks and Wildlife are doing regular on-water patrols and safety checks with help from local sheriff’s departments and police agencies.

    City police who don’t have on-water patrols are keeping a close eye on parks, like Westlake at Lewisville Lake.

    The Army Corps of Engineers said they’re definitely ahead of pace for lake deaths from where they were this time last year; about 25 deaths this season on corps lakes in the seven state region versus about 65 overall last year.

    Park Ranger Chad Eller said a big factor is the drought which has exposed new dangers in the water.

    "Don't be complacent, don't think that because you're in good shape and you know how to swim that you're going to be safe out on the boat without a life jacket; always wear your life jacket,” said Eller.

    For now, both the Army Corps and Texas Parks and Wildlife are continuing to put out heavy education, including life jacket reminders at the lakes and a 10 minute video of survivor stories on the TXPW website.

    Officers said their biggest goal on patrols right now is safety checks to make sure people are keeping alcohol consumption under control and have the proper equipment, because rangers say the main reason for most drownings is people simply ignoring simple safety tools like a life jacket.