La. wildlife agents seeing an increase in drownings this summer
LIVINGSTON PARISH - Just halfway through 2022, the number of drownings in Louisiana waterways is already on track to surpass last year's count.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said there were 26 boating fatalities last year. So far this year, they're at 19.
"About a week ago we had a Hispanic male that drowned in the Diversion Canal about two miles from this location here," Sgt. Randy Lanoux said.
Lanoux says, in his region, he has seen 7 drownings. The most recent deaths happened this week.
"The prevailing conditions, just like in this incident this weekend, change dramatically within a matter of minutes. You have to be prepared for that. If you don't have the ability to overcome that, like waves, that is when these tragedies occur," Lanoux said.
Zane Bryant, 20, went to help his friend, Zachary Leduff, 18, when he got into trouble swimming in Lake Maurepas on Sunday. Then, 48-year-old Michael Bryant tried to help both of them. Others from their boat called for help after all three vanished.
"If you don't have the skills to rescue a drowning person, we don't recommend you try do that. Throw them something, or extend a pole to get them out," Lanoux said.
Lanoux warns that swimming in a pool is much different than open water.
"Swimming is a extremely tasking task. It exhaust you very quickly. People don't realize that. They will swim across, get half way, then realize they aren't going to make it. Well, now you're half way," Lanoux said.
Lanoux says if there is someone in the water and you do not have a life saving device, the best thing you can do, is throw them an empty cooler.
Children younger than 17 are required to wear a life jacket. Adults are highly encouraged.
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