MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo.– A 14-year-old boy died after being pulled from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights. This is the 5th drowning in the St Louis area in less than a week and there is a dire warning from authorities.
The incident happened around 9 P.M. Thursday, about an hour after he went under the water.
Witnesses say a family was laughing and having fun when suddenly there was a dramatic turn – and calls for help. Rescuers transported the boy to the hospital.
The Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, Pattonville Fire Protection District, and Metro West Fire Protection all responded to the lake. They eventually found the victim off the shore.
“He went out swimming, went under the water never resurfaced. There have been several rescue efforts going, we had boats in the water as well as ground operations,” said Captain Robert Davis.
College student Stephanie Perun was at the lake relaxing and said the teen appeared to be a with a large group that appeared to be his family.
“A huge family came by, they were splashing around and having fun until like 20 minutes, it got quiet and one of them asked me if I could swim because they said their kid swam out a little bit too far and had been under for 3 minutes and I panicked and when they called the police I jumped in the water and it was just not great,” said Stephanie Perun.
Officials are speaking out to raise awareness about water safety and say the lake bottom falls off quickly at Creve Coeur Lake.
“Restrictions being loosened this summer, everyone wants to get out, we want people to be safe when around bodies of water. Follow posted signs. If it says no swimming it may look like innocent water but you really, Creve Couer Lake for example can vary from 10 to 30 feet, so you wade off in that lake then all of a sudden fall off deeply,” said Captain Robert Davis
There was also an incident last night in Jefferson County. 25-year-old Michael Lewis of Granite City vanished in the waters at Rockford Beach along the Big River in House Springs. Emergency crews did an extensive search of the area and he was not located.
Due to the number of drownings already this year, about a dozen different agencies will be holding a news conference Monday to speak out about water safety.