Man Drowns in South Georgia State Park
Authorities are currently investigating a tragic drowning death in a state park located in South Georgia, according to the Associate Press. The fatal accident occurred at Georgia Veterans State Park on Saturday, June 27, in the afternoon hours. Investigators report that the victim was a 28 year old man of Sylvester. The victim's body was found using a boat just beyond the roped off beach area and it is not yet clear that caused the man to drown or whether negligence played a role in the accident.
Drowning is a Top Cause of Unintentional Death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 4,000 people die from drowning each year. Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages one through four, second only to genetic anomalies. In fact, drowning is the top cause of unintentional death for those under the age of 29. In addition to these high rates of fatal drownings, a number of near-drowning accidents lead to over 5,800 emergency room trips annually.
State Parks are Often the Site of Drowning
A search of recent news stories reveals that drowning accidents often occur at state parks. Within days of this Georgia state park drowning, a teenager drowned in an Alabama state park that did not provide lifeguards for swimmers. Another drowning death occurred in Texas, involving a 19 year old swimming in the designated swimming area of a state park lake. In that same time frame, a Michigan child died after being caught in the current at a state park. A long term family friend attempted to save him, but the strong current made it impossible for the two to stay afloat.
State Park Safety is a Must
In light of these recent drowning accidents, it is important that all state parks, as well as any public pools, assess the safety of their swimming area. State parks and other swimming areas should require that the swimming area is roped off or otherwise marked so that swimmers do not venture out past the safe zone. If currents are common in the area, signs should be posted that warn swimmers as to the danger of currents, the hazards of swimming there and the steps a swimmer should take if he or she becomes caught in a strong current. Lifeguards are vital to swimmer safety, but those parks or pools that do not offer a lifeguard should make it clear to swimmers that no lifeguard is on duty so that they can make informed decisions as to the potential dangers of swimming in the area.
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