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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Boating and Water Related Deaths Continue in Illinois and Missouri

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As we near the end of August and families gear up for school, the typical summer activities start to decline. Most public swimming pools close at the end of Labor Day weekend. While the weather remains warm enough for Illinois lake and Missouri lake activities, into September, most families halt such activities when school starts. To that end, many families are scrambling to squeeze in the last few rays of sunshine while boating and swimming.

This past weekend, two boaters on Carlyle Lake (a Southern Illinois lake) went missing and are presumed drowned according to CBS St. Louis. Authorities searched for the two boaters this weekend and halted the search due to conditions (lack of daylight). The search for the missing boaters is set to resume today in Keyesport, Illinois.

The two men were boating on Carlyle Lake in Illinois, a 26,000 acre lake, with a third individual. One of the three men jumped from the boat into the lake and began struggling while trying to stay afloat. To help, one of the other two men jumped into the water to try to assist the struggling swimmer. It is reported that the third man remained in the boat but was unable to assist as the boat drifted away. The man in the boat did not know how to operate the boat. Reports indicate that authorities believe the two men drowned.

I do not know the circumstances surrounding this tragic lake drowning. It is possible that these men were strong swimmers, were familiar with the lake, and were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, lake goers can become over confident in their swimming skills. It is a natural reaction to want to help someone struggling in the water. However, most people underestimate the risk of jumping in to help someone. It must be remembered that the person who is drowning is terrified and will do whatever it takes to get above the water – even if this means pushing you down under the water.

Also this past weekend, a young girl from Kansas City wandered away from family members Sunday morning and fell into the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden County, Missouri. According to reports, the six year old girl was found face down near a boat dock near Chimney Cove. While rescuers were able to remove the young girl from the lake and efforts made to revive her, she was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead approximately one hour after the Missouri drowning.

We enroll our children in swimming classes at Little Fishes swim academy and I recommend doing so when individuals are young so that they can carry certain water skills to adulthood. Swimming classes to not only expose them to water and to help them develop social skills but also to teach them: (1) to not enter water if you are unfamiliar with the conditions and (2) to not jump into a body of water to help a friend – while hard to do, it is more prudent to seek help.

Lindsay Rakers, Injury Attorney