Austin's Public Safety Committee is demanding improvements to the Barton Creek Greenbelt after the deaths of three people in just the last three months.
The latest victim, 20-year-old Thomas Dlancer White, died last night after falling from a cliff.
The Public Safety Committee brought up several ideas to make the greenbelt spot safer: more enforcement, increased fines, as well as putting fences and warning signs up in dangerous areas.
The death of 20-year-old Thomas Dlancer White could bring about change at the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
"One of the attractions, is that it's a beautiful wilderness in the heart of the city. Certainly in areas where we have known incidents such as this, I think some type of warning, perhaps by signs, may be warranted," says Ed Scruggs, Public Safety Committee.
White is from Hurst, Texas near Dallas. He was attending Southwestern University and played soccer.
Austin Police say White was climbing in an area known as White Face Cliff - a popular place for diving and hiking. He was with friends when police say he most-likely slipped. This prompted a discussion about the Greenbelt at the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday night.
There have been two other deaths there over the past two months. In May, a woman died after she got sucked into a bypass tunnel running through Barton Springs Pool. Then in June, a City of Austin lifeguard drowned while swimming.
"Water is always dangerous. It's up to individuals to determine their capacity for swimming and whether alcohol is in use. There's so many different factors involved when people are at risk on the waterways," says Brian Tanzola, Assistant Chief, Austin Fire Dept.
Austin Fire says they close a waterway when it's flowing at 1500 cubic feet per minute. But even when it's not closed, it doesn't mean the water is safe. This has been confusing to the public.
"I think we need to increase public education on what it means when they say the greenbelt is closed. It doesn't necessarily mean the waterway is closed but that doesn't mean that you should go through the greenbelt to get to the waterway. We saw that cause needless deaths," says Scruggs.
Austin Fire says there were 13 rescues through July 4th last year. There have been 19 so far this year.
"Throughout the greenbelt we run dozens of calls every summer on people that get lost, stranded, fall down, twist their knees. So rescues in the greenbelt are common for us," says Tanzola.
City officials and authorities hope by working together they can prevent deaths in the future.
Southwestern's President issued a statement on White's death saying:
Hearts are very heavy at Southwestern today. Thomas was a beloved member of our community, and he will be deeply missed. Please join us in allowing Thomas' family to privately grieve, while keeping them in your thoughts.
Austin Police confirm the identity of the man that fell yesterday at the Barton Springs Greenbelt as 20-year-old Thomas Dlancer White.
White was a student athlete at Southwestern University where he played soccer and received Director of Athletics Academic Excellence Award in the Fall of 2015. He attended High School at Birdville High School in Hurst, Texas.
According to authorities, a man is dead after falling more than 50 feet off of a cliff at the Barton Springs Greenbelt on Monday.
The Austin Fire Department, STAR Flight, and Austin Travis County EMS also responded to multiple calls around 7:45 PM. First responders made three rescues, including two around the same time.
According to police a young man died after falling 50-feet off of White Face Cliff. He was with friends at the time. Austin Travis County EMS rappelled down the cliff to reach the fallen man. First responders attempted to resuscitate him however he died on the scene.
Austin Police Department's Homicide Unit is investigating the incident.
According to APD Sr. Officer Christopher Irwin, "Every time a death occurs in the City of Austin and it's a situation like this, Austin homicide will investigate what took place. That doesn't mean that any foul play or any wrongdoing occurred."
A second rescue happened just a few miles away. That victim is believed to have suffered from a heat illness. He is recovering and we are working to get more information on that as well.