Park Rangers Investigate Drowning
PUEBLO, Colo. – Lake Pueblo State Park rangers are investigating Sunday’s apparent drowning death of a 16-year-old boy in the Fishhook Cove area. The boy’s name has been withheld because of his age.
The boy was reported missing at about 4:50 p.m. Lake Pueblo State Park staff and divers with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Bureau searched the area and found the boy in the water at about 6:15 p.m. Attempts to resuscitate the boy were made at the scene, he was evacuated by a Flight for Life helicopter to the St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo.
“We send our condolences to the family in this tragedy,” said Brad Henley, Lake Pueblo State Park Manager.
The boy was swimming with friends, despite Colorado State Park regulations that prohibit swimming outside of designated swim beaches. Swimming from boats, marinas and non-designated beaches is not allowed and diving from rock formations is also prohibited.
“Signs are posted throughout the park warning people that swimming is only permitted in designated swimming areas,” said Henley. “We patrol the reservoir constantly, especially the Three Fingers Area, which includes Fishhook Cove. We issue warnings and we ticket violators.
“This tragedy draws attention to the importance of the regulations that limit swimming to designated beaches,” said Henley.
Rangers and boat patrols check Lake Pueblo’s approximately 60 miles of shoreline and up to 4,600 surface acres of water, said Henley. Each year, more than 1.8 million people visit Lake Pueblo, which is 11 miles long.
“Rangers and patrol boats do their best to educate visitors about the swimming regulations,’’ said Henley. “The signs about swimming in designated areas are in place throughout the park and the information is also available at the entry stations, the park’s visitor center and on the website.”
The Colorado State Parks’ swimming regulations that limit swimming were created to protect swimmers from boaters, jet-skiers, hazards hidden in the water and high concentrations of bacteria that sometimes occur in the reservoirs. The swim beaches are regularly tested for bacteria, including E. coli. Water elsewhere in the reservoirs is not tested and could contain high levels of E. coli, which can cause stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
Henley said the regulations were created in the 1980’s because of accidents involving severe injuries and deaths due to boater-swimmer accidents in other states. Colorado was proactive in protecting the public safety at State Parks, he said.
Information about the swimming regulations is posted on the Colorado State Parks’ websites, under “swimming” in the activities available, and on signs at the State Parks, including Lake Pueblo State Park.