In light of a teen drowning in Lake View Saturday and with Labor Day just a week away, a Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue captain gave a breakdown of safe boating practices.
His first piece of advice is to never be distracted while operating a boat and always keep that life jacket on.
Captain Derrick Riddle explained that even the best swimmers and operators of boats can still drown if their head hits something hard.
“Anything that makes you lose consciousness, you cannot swim. A lot of the times the lakes or the rivers are what we can call black water, you are not able to see too far down,” said Riddle.
Tuscaloosa’s Fire and Rescue’s dive team unfortunately is called out when someone hasn’t come back up, after going down.
“We try to bring closure to that family and get that body out of the water,” said Riddle.
It took divers most of Saturday night to recover 14-year-old Madison Reed’s body at Ski Lake.
“It’s always tough to show up to the scene especially for children, it’s tough for anybody but a victim of that age. There’s a lot of things that can happen on a pontoon, you know people having a good time and slip trip,” said Riddle.
In the case of Reed, investigators said she was sitting on the front of a moving pontoon boat, letting her feet drag under water.
Witnesses reported she fell off the boat and it appeared she hit her head on the boat propeller and drowned.
“You stick your arm out in the water or a leg and a log catches it or stump catches it and you don’t realize it can actually jerk you in the water,” said Riddle.
Captain Riddle recommends that people keep all hands, arms, feet, and legs in a moving boat always.
Lake View’s country club owner Charley Buckland said they are collecting money to help 14-year-old Madison Reed’s family, with any expenses that come up considering her death.
During hard times like this Buckland said they do what they can to assist their own.
“She was one of our little girls. We do know there will be a need and we’ll try to reach that and use this as a condolence to get that to the family and help out anyway we can,” said Buckland.
If you’d like to help the Reed family, you can mail a check or money order to Lake View Country Club at 21026 Agnes Dr, McCalla, AL 35111.
The community plans to give the family what was raised by the end of this week.
Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.