Posted: Jun 23, 2014 5:58 PM by Rob Krieger
Updated: Jun 23, 2014 6:03 PM
WATSON - At least five people have died on the Amite River while tubing, the latest two drowning deaths happened yesterday.
The bodies of Joshua Brantley, 26, and Phillip White, 26, were pulled from the Amite River hours after they went missing during a tubing trip with friends.
Witnesses told News 2 they saw the group as they were preparing to get into the water and the men did not seem intoxicated.
"These two gentlemen were inexperienced swimmers and inexperienced on the water way," said Lori Steele with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, "there were heavy currents and those who knew how to swim had a tough time navigating in the water so someone who was inexperienced would have had a harder time."
The State Fire Marshal's Office is typically in charge of inspecting and regulating amusement attractions, but that is only true in most cases, when those attractions include mechanical equipment and structures.
"There's nothing in state law that classifies that as a mechanical device, amusement type device, or a building, that falls into an area of unregulated territory, if you will, from our standpoint," said Dan Wallis the Chief Deputy for the State Fire Marshal.
In the past 5 years, LPSO has worked 15 deaths on waterways, five of those were tubers. The Sheriff has beefed up its marine division to deal with the expanded growth.