Senseless summer tragedy

Local News

MACOUPIN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The tragic drowning of a young Decatur boy is sending shockwaves through Central Illinois. It happened over the weekend at Lake Catatoga.

Now, as the family grieves, first responders warn others to always put safety first when in the water.

Water has no mercy for anyone; not for a 30-year old kayaker who went missing for nearly two weeks after he drowned in the Sangamon River and not for 7-year old Ethan Kitchens who lost his life while swimming with family over the weekend.

Authorities say a life jacket could have saved both. Sangamon County’s park district chief says he’s witnessed his fair share of close calls and drownings.

He says no one can predict these things, but what they can do is be extra careful. He urges parents to make sure kids learn how to swim. In addition, adults should avoid drugs and alcohol.

Macoupin County’s coroner says this weekend’s drowning was the first he’d seen in his nearly 12-year career.

Ethan’s family is asking for privacy during this very hard time. A funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

According to the CDC, about ten people die from accidental drowning every day. It’s a leading cause of injury death worldwide. The highest rates are among children.

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