Reminder amid rash of deaths on Barton Creek: Drowning is silent

Patty Wilson surveys the water at Gus Fruh park on the Barton Creek Greenbelt on May 26, 2016.   LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Patty Wilson surveys the water at Gus Fruh park on the Barton Creek Greenbelt on May 26, 2016. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 

Three people have drowned on the Barton Creek Greenbelt in the last few weeks. That’s three too many.

One was a lifeguard for the city of Austin, which proves that even strong swimmers aren’t immune to the perils of rushing water.

The rash of deaths spurred a conversation earlier this week.

Why so many drownings now? Is it because we’ve been lulled into complacency by years of drought? We expect placid creeks, where we can perch on rocks while lazy fingers of water curl around us, when in fact the water is swirling with force enough to drag us under?

Or is it a result of our booming population? So many more people are taking a dip in our favorite swimming holes that the percentage of folks who get in trouble is on the rise?

Regardless, it’s a problem – and a reminder that you may not recognize the signs that someone is drowning. Drowning’s not noisy and splashy, it’s silent.

Read my article from a few years ago about what drowning looks like here.

And condolences to the families and friends of the three people who lost their lives on the Greenbelt recently:

  • Hansel Rene Hernandez-Garay, a 15-year-old male from Houston, went missing while swimming in a stretch of the creek near Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) on Saturday. He was found dead the same day.

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