It’s the kind of tragedy that reminds us all to be more careful as we enjoy this region’s rivers, lakes and swimming pools. A 14-year-old boy from Erwin drowned Saturday in Boone Lake. Officials with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office say the body of Cody Daniel Riddle was recovered nearly 12 hours after friends said he was last seen on the shoreline of an island in the lake.
He was the latest person to die on an area lake this summer. Other victims include a 14-year-old girl in Boone Lake; a 24-year-old man in Fort Patrick Henry Lake; a 23-year-old man in Fort Patrick Henry Lake; and a man whose body was recovered from South Holston Lake the day before his 20th birthday.
As the NET News Service reported in Sunday’s paper, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death in the United States for people between the ages of 15 and 44. Authorities say there are a number of things you can do to avoid becoming a grim statistic. The first is to know the characteristics of the body of water you are swimming in. For example, pools are much different than rivers and lakes. Know the effects of the undercurrents, temperature changes and possible hazards (such as dams or floating debris) of rivers and lakes before going into the water.
Know how deep the water is you are swimming in and never dive into the water from a bridge, swinging rope or ledge. Misjudging the depth of water can result in serious bodily harm or death.
And never swim alone. Make sure there’s another competent swimmer nearby to keep a watch in case you encounter trouble.