Officials respond to high number of water rescue calls

Officials respond to high number of water rescue calls

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"Drowning doesn't typically look like how it does on the movies. People are not going to yell, they're not going to scream," said TWRA officer Jeff Roberson. "Drowning doesn't typically look like how it does on the movies. People are not going to yell, they're not going to scream," said TWRA officer Jeff Roberson.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 people die from drowning every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 people die from drowning every year.
Officials also say because of large rain totals this year, stream and river water moves faster than normal. Officials also say because of large rain totals this year, stream and river water moves faster than normal.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - With summer in full swing, many families are out on the water. That means there is an increased number of boating and swimming accidents and close calls.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 people die from drowning every year. About 20 percent are children age 14 or younger.

Rescuers discovered the body of 23-year-old Carlos Diaz around 6:00 p.m. Friday at the Evergreen Cove area of Cherokee Lake. Authorities say he drowned just 15 yards from shore.

There were also many close calls on the waterways in East Tennessee this weekend.

"It's so slippery out here, you don't want to take no chances. It's not worth it, you can drown," said Samantha Cooper, a Maryville resident. 

Cooper and others were at Perry's Mill Dam in Blount County on Sunday, just one day after a young man was involved in a near drowning at the dam, according to emergency officials.

Rural/Metro responded to the near drowning call at 6:00 p.m. The man was responsive when rescuers arrived and refused transportation to hospital. 

6 News spoke to a witness who says the man was pulled in by the undercurrent.

"People need to understand that's not a joke, it will hurt you. I If you don't know what you're doing, it will hurt you," said Maryville resident Steven Ray Talent.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials say about 70 percent of deaths on the waterways in Tennessee each year are due to drowning.

"Drowning doesn't typically look like how it does on the movies. People are not going to yell, they're not going to scream," said TWRA officer Jeff Roberson.

Officials say most drownings occur when people are alone in the water and not wearing a life jacket. They say the probability increases when in a lake or body of water.  

"In a pool situation, you can see that victim. Someone can go down immediately and rescue them. In a lake, you have water clarity issues and often times they don't find that person until it's too late," said Roberson.

Officials also say because of large rain totals this year, stream and river water moves faster than normal.

That's partially why a woman fell out of her inner tube Saturday afternoon on the Little River in Townsend. 

She was not injured, but hours later authorities were dispatched to help six tubers who were stranded at the river intersection known as the "Y" in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

"It seemed they were probably not really experienced and they were just out having a good time. They ran into a little rougher waters than they were used to and made it over to the opposite side of the river from the road, and just needed help getting across," said Capt. Jim Patty, with the Blount County Fire Protection District.

Men make up 80 percent of drowning cases across all age groups. Officials say men tend to overestimate their abilities in the water.

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