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News > St. Louis City / County > Story
Boy, 15, drowns at Castlewood Park
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/13/2007

BALLWIN A 15-year-old boy from New York, described as a good swimmer by his family, drowned Sunday afternoon in the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park, officials said.

Isaiah E. Green was the seventh victim in the past two years to die at the exact same bend of the river about 300 yards from the sandbar.

Isaiah was visiting his uncle and cousins who live in St. Louis County, and the family was spending the afternoon in the park, according to Missouri Water Patrol Sgt. Bryan Parrott. Family members told authorities that Isaiah had been wading in the river, which is only a couple of feet deep near the beach, along with his 15-year-old cousin. His uncle was watching the pair from the shore.

The boys struggled in the silty river bottom as they drifted downstream, and Isaiah tried to remove his water shoes when he went under, Parrott said. Shortly after 3 p.m., his cousin waded back to the shore and heard Isaiah's cries for help before he submerged.


His uncle and cousin tried to rescue him but became stuck in the mud. A park ranger arrived on the scene by 3:30, and about an hour later fire and rescue teams from around the area began a search.

Isaiah's body was recovered at 5 p.m. in 12 feet of water, Parrott said. His parents in New York told officials they had a pool in their backyard and their son was a strong swimmer.

"The best swimmers can drown," said Lou Amighetti, a spokesman for the Water Patrol. He said the recent spate of drowning in this same part of the river did not mean it was unsafe.

"Rivers are not necessarily any more dangerous than the public swimming pool," he said.

He said the key to avoiding accidents required following safety guidelines, such as: swimming with a buddy, keeping close adult supervision and wearing a personal flotation device.

About 300 to 400 people swim every weekend in the same waterway as the recent drownings, he said.

Like many swimmers, Pete Martinez, 18, of Chesterfield, does not wear a life jacket when he goes in the river. He was visiting the park Sunday and says he does not wear a life jacket because "I'm 18, and I know how to swim, and I'm pretty good at it."

The park remained open Sunday, with just the accident area cordoned off during the recovery. A group of about five small children splashed in a shallow part of the river because they were blocked off from the area they normally visit due to the accident.

Their mothers watched from a picnic table while the little ones splashed and waded in the water.

Blanca Dela Torre, 27, of St. Louis, says they probably will be back in the larger swimming area next weekend. She says news of the drowning scared her but the adults keep a close eye on the children when they are in the water.

On Sunday, none of the children was wearing a life jacket.

asultan@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8300
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