You Ask, We Investigate: Recent drownings raise concerns about safety of Beaver Lake

You Ask, We Investigate

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) —  In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner looked into your concerns about the number of drownings at Beaver Lake.

There have been 132 drownings at Beaver Lake since the mid 1960’s. Ten of those drownings have happened during the last five years.

“I hate to say what the reason is for each one of these drownings, but I will say, if you know how to swim and you wear a life jacket, that’s going to protect you from a lot of things,” said Landon Thurman, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There are twelve designated swim beaches at Beaver Lake and that includes the one at Prairie Creek. There have been four drownings at Prairie Creek, with the most recent one happening in May 2018. There were also drownings in 1968, 1979 and 1987.

“We have our Benton County dive team come and dive these swim beaches every year before we open them up,” Thurman said. “They are looking for any kind of hazards out there, anything that may be dangerous to the public. With Prairie Creek, they say it’s kind of just a gradual slope that goes out there. There are no extreme drop-offs and as far as currents there are no currents people need to be worried about.”

There are signs posted around the lake detailing what you can and can not do at the swim beaches.

“We only recommend that you swim at our designated swim beaches and those are swim beaches that we are saying are safe places to swim,” Thurman said. “Anything outside of that is swim at your own risk.”

Thurman said swimmers need to understand their abilities and the abilities of the people they’re with.

“Even if you’re a strong swimmer, you never know what may happen,” he said. “You may have some sort of medical emergency while you’re out there swimming. If you have a life jacket on, it’s going to help keep you afloat until your friends or family can get you out of the water.”

If there’s something you want to know about in your community, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@knwa.com.

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