DROWNINGS - KCTV5

Officials warn of lake, river dangers after 3 fatally drown

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Families of three young drowning victims from central Virginia continue to cope with their loss in a lake or pond, since the Fourth of July. The unthinkable happened seemingly calm water, as loved ones are now left shocked and shattered.

Makayla Carter, 7, from Spotsylvania, went under in a pond close to her home. She never surfaced on the Fourth of July.

That same day, the body of Virginia Tech lacrosse player, Alex Hable, 20, was found on the rocks of a North Carolina lake.

Anthony Johnson, 18, couldn't be saved by his friends in a Fredericksburg rock quarry lake, Monday night.

We asked Richmond Fire Department Lieutenant Christopher Armstrong if lakes tend to be underestimated for their dangers.

"In my experience yes," said Lt. Armstrong. "People do tend to underestimate. Sometimes there can be some complacency as far as (seeing) other people... and sometimes they may not be at the same skill level or as strong a swimmer as those individuals."

There's always a risk when you can't see the bottom of natural bodies of water. Undercurrents, debris, varying depths, holes, rocks, and even wildlife, can all pose threats.

Rope swings, like the one officials say Alex Hable was using, are notorious for being risky.

"We don't advocate ever using anything that's not set up by non-professionals when you go to a river or lake," added Lt. Armstrong.

Officials warn never to swim alone. Be aware of landmarks, so rescuers can easily be led to you. Children should always be within the sight of a watchful eye.

"I try to stay within ten to 20 feet and just keep an eye on them," said Brent Hutchinson, who didn't let his two young daughters out of his sight by the James River's shallow edge near Brown's Island.

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