Recent drownings prompt advisory from first responders

The San Marcos River runs 75 miles from the center of Hays County to Gonzales where it turns into the Guadeloupe River and rolls on down to the Gulf of Mexico.

A steady flow of spring fed water attracts swimmers and boaters to the river. 

In Luling, the Channel narrows and bends by the old Zedler Mill which has been converted into an event center.  Sales Director Phyllis Hillhouse told me they're expecting another busy summer season

"It is not a hidden gem anymore lots of word-of-mouth once someone comes to the wedding or event here word spreads and we get many calls from each event that we have," said Hillhouse.

Upstream, first responders are also expecting to be busy on the water this Summer.

A team with the San Marcos Fire Department demonstrated rescue techniques Thursday morning at Rio Vista Park. The crew has already been called out several times this summer.

A few weeks ago, a swimmer with a neck injury was pulled out.

There  have also been tubers located, who after missing their exit, were found floating several miles down stream. Slippery rocks and underwater obstructions are big risks according to Battalion Chief Howie Minor.

"Always, I guess be aware of your surroundings, because something does happen so quick, you can maybe sit there and  prevent something before it does happen," said Minor.

Churning water also creates what's called a hydraulic that can pin a person to the bottom.

First responders call it a drowning machine.

"If you get caught in that it will turn you like a piece of driftwood. The main thing is is probably to go down underneath the water and swim out that way underneath it so you're not turning in the water at the top in the boil the best way to get out of it is not to get in it,"said Minor.

Chief Minor went on to say that, being mindful of the risk won't take away from the fun. But he pointed out, it's important to remember while the local rivers and lakes are abundant with natural beauty. They're not commercial water parks with lifeguards at every corner.

Forgetting that and being careless can come at a high cost.

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