Drownings in Oklahoma have more than tripled, compared to this time last year

44 people have drowned in 2020, 8 of those have happened in Texoma
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 10:37 PM CDT
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OKLAHOMA (KXII) - In the state of Oklahoma, there have been 44 lake-related deaths since the beginning of this year.

“It’s really unfortunate that we’ve had such a sharp rise in lake related deaths.” said Captain Scott Hampton.

The pandemic has more people heading outdoors, and Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Scott Hampton said that has translated to more people going to the lake this summer.

“A lot of times we see events where someone thinks they’re just jumping off in the water for just a second (then) they instantly start struggling and never resurface. Or they’re trying to swim a certain distance and become fatigued mid way” Capt. Hampton said.

Capt. Hampton said one main factor in drownings is people getting in the water without life vests, or any kind of personal flotation devices.

”The percentages is through the roof on a lack of use for P-F-Ds” said Capt. Hampton.

This year, four people have drowned at Lake Texoma, two at Turner Falls, and two more at Lake Murray.

“I mean it’s really scary, because if I’m going to be honest I’m not that great of a swimmer.” said Hietesman.

”Once you get past the buoys, it’s really hard to touch.” Lau said.

Friends Trinity Lau and Emma Hietesman said they’ve heard horror stories of people drowning at the lake, so they make sure they stay together when going for a swim.

”The waves-the current! It rained earlier, so the water is a lot higher than normal” Lau said.

”I know about the under water currents, that take people under sometimes. I feel like nobody really knows how to react when that happens.” said Hietesman.

Troopers said preparing ahead of time and being cautious in or near the water are two important ingredients for fun days at the lake, that won’t end in tragedy.

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