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Near drowning averted at Kendall Lake

Posted: June 18, 2013 4:09 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2013 5:00 a.m.

One day before an Elgin homeowner found 15-year-old Daven Williams dead in their swimming pool, a Camden man was transported -- alive -- to the hospital after nearly drowning in Kendall Lake. Camden Police Department (CPD) Chief Joe Floyd said the 35-year-old man had to be taken to the hospital after he tried to rescue his fiancé’s flotation device.

Floyd said the woman slipped off a flotation device which then drifted away from her. While trying to swim back to shore, the woman reportedly got tired and was unable to swim back, Floyd said. He said the man noticed his fiancé was having trouble staying afloat about 100 to 150 feet from shore and tried to rescue her. The man, a former life guard, managed to get his fiancé close enough to the shore that she could stand, before he swam back out to get the flotation device, the woman said in an interview on Tuesday. The man started having complications due to the current, however, and yelled for help, she said, so she swam back out to help him. By the time she got close enough to him, however, she, had gotten exhausted, she said.

Luckily, 19-year-old Derrick Morales, brother of CPD Sgt. David Morales, was with the couple and helped them back to shore. Meanwhile, another person at the lake called dispatchers, Floyd said, adding that if Morales hadn’t been there, the story might have turned out differently. As far as Floyd knows, the man should recover, but said the couple could have easily been overtaken by their exhaustion and drowned.

The day after the incident at Kendall Lake, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews announced that 15-year-old Daven Williams had been found dead in a swimming pool at an Elgin home. Matthews said investigators believe Williams -- who had a developmental disorder --  climbed over a fence and fell into the pool.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, Floyd said, people need to be cautious when they are swimming. He said Hollywood has made drowning look like an active and violent process, but that in real life it can be a silent killer. Only two people have drowned in Camden during the last 15 years, he said.

If you are out swimming, Floyd suggests that at least one person keep an active watch of people in the water. In a pool, it is easier to see if someone has gone under water; in any other setting, people need to be especially vigilant, he said.

Here are some “Swim Safety” tips from the American Red Cross’s website:

• Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.

• Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.

• Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

• Maintain constant supervision.

• Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.

• If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.

• Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

• If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

• Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

• Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

• Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.

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