Six people drowned across Oklahoma around the Fourth of July holiday, including two toddlers, and none reportedly was wearing a life jacket.
Swimmers, particularly young children, should be carefully watched because it can be hard to tell when a person is drowning, experts say.
They are usually silent and not moving much, contrary to some popular depictions of people screaming and thrashing about.
“They don’t appear to be in any huge distress,” Dr. LaMont Cavanagh, sports medicine specialist with University of Oklahoma Physicians in Tulsa, told the Tulsa World in 2014.
Stephen Maxwell, 34, of Ardmore reportedly drowned in Lake Murray in Carter County after being seen struggling in the water about 7 p.m. June 29. Maxwell reportedly jumped from a stopped boat’s swim deck. A witness saw him struggling in the water and tried to rescue him, but Maxwell submerged.
Using sonar, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers found his body in 26 feet of water the next morning.
An Austin, Texas, man died Thursday when he reportedly jumped from a boat near the North Shore swim beach at Lake Altus.
Robert Kollasch, 56, reportedly jumped into about 5 feet of water and never resurfaced. Bystanders pulled him from the water.
Despite resuscitation efforts, Kollasch was pronounced dead at Elkview General Hospital in Hobart, according to a news release.
A 4-year-old boy drowned at Lake Murray in Love County about 1 p.m. Saturday. He reportedly jumped from the shore with his juvenile cousins and resurfaced not breathing and unconscious.
Despite life-saving efforts by family and a park ranger, he was pronounced dead.
On Sunday, a 4-year-old girl drowned on the north end of Lake Eufaula in McIntosh County after disappearing from a home that morning, according to a news release. The body of Vivienne Suzanne McDaniel was found about 20 feet from shore in 5 feet of water.
Two others drowned in separate incidents at Turner Falls in Murray County on Wednesday and Friday, according to a report from The Oklahoman.
When water gets into someone’s lungs, the throat usually closes off, meaning the person can’t speak or make sound. When they lose oxygen to the brain, they pass out, Cavanagh said.
Parents with a child playing in a pool should be concerned if the child isn’t making any noise, he said.
“You really have to be paying attention,” he said.
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