Caution urged while swimming near Denison Dam

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

DENISON, TX -- According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Lake Texoma area averages five drownings each year. Another dangerous area is below the Denison Dam on the Red River.

Doyle Haugland spends a lot of time on the banks of the Red River beneath the Denison Dam.

"As long as I'm alive, every day. If I ain't got to go to the doctor or dentist, I'm out here every morning," he said.

During his time out here, he's witnessed two drownings just in the last year, along with several near-drownings.

"Because I was sitting up here and watching everything that was going on, I have helped save five people. At least five. Maybe even seven or eight," Haugland said.

He hopes he doesn't have to do that again.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers want swimmers to be aware of the dangers near the Denison Dam.

"The water can look pretty safe and pretty inviting on the surface," Park Ranger James Vincent said.

Vincent, says when the dam is opened, it opens up a lot of dangers with it.

"When you hear the horn sound here beneath the dam, that's simply an audible alarm saying we're about to generate, we're about to release water," he said. "The water level is going to rise. The danger is going to increase. The first time you hear that is when you should begin to make your way out of the river and to a safe location above where the water surface will elevate to."

It is illegal to go inside the wired off section near the dam, but every where else you are advised to use caution. No matter the situation, most drownings can be avoided if a life-jacket is worn.


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