River Requires Extra Safety
KENNEWICK, Wash. - When the weather gets hot, people here head for the river. It's a great way to cool off, but it can turn tragic in a minute.
Three deaths in less than three weeks. First two men drown in the Yakima River, now a man dies after swimming in the Columbia River with his friends.
Local authorities encourage people to take more precautions before heading out on the water. With temperatures soaring, it's easy to understand why people are looking for refuge along the river.
"It's sunny, it's hot outside. It's a good day to have a some fun and go out skiing," said Waterskiier Yuriy Popovich.
But after the deaths of Gary Kirk, Justin Avery, and now Ricardo Torres, members of Columbia Basin Dive Rescue are asking people to take more precautions before pulling out on the river.
The most important, put on a life jacket.
"It's there as a back up for you, a safety device just like a seatbelt in a car, and it's there in case the unexpected happens," said Rescue Diver Scott Pattison.
Divers said people can still have fun in the river, but warn you should know how to swim, and only swim in designated areas, always swim with a buddy, and know the area you're swimming in.
"It comes down to common sense and knowing the limitations you have and being familiar with your surroundings," said Pattison.
Kennewick Fire Fighters add when you're out on the river it's especially important to drink lots fluids. Being out in the heat all day can really hurt you.
"If your waiting to be thirsty your waiting too long in this weather you have to be proactive keep fluids in frequently and consume more than your used to," said Rob Kandle, Kennewick Fire Department.
But firefighters warn you should never swim and drink alcohol.