Drownings in KC Metro waters highlight need for life jackets, say experts

Rebecca Crockett
August 25, 2020 - 9:43 am
River water swirls

Sandra Sapp / Getty


Kansas City, MO - The drowning deaths of two children in bodies of water in the KC Metro this past weekend highlights the dangers of not wearing floatation devices, say safety experts. 

On Saturday, August 22, the Missouri Highway Patrol reported a six-year-old drowned in Longview Lake.  The same day, an 11-year-old girl drowned in the Kansas River.

“The number one thing you can do to protect yourself when you’re on, in, or near water is to wear a life jacket," says Jimmy Walker, asst. fire chief with the KCK Fire Department.

When boating in Kansas, children under 12 years of age are required to wear a life preserver. In Missouri, that age is seven and under.

Walker says when swimming in lakes and in rivers, everyone should wear a life jacket.

The 11-year-old girl was playing on a sandbar in the Kansas River near I-435 and Woodend Road in KCK, near Edwardsville. 

Witnesses say she was sucked under by the current and roiling water of the river.  She was found downstream near the Turner Diagonal. 

Walker says don't be fooled by what appears to be a calm surface to the water.  Currents, especially in rivers, are flowing and swirling just out of sight below the surface.  


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