First responders explain why Meramec River is so dangerous to sw -

First responders explain why Meramec River is so dangerous to swimmers

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Meramec River. Credit: KMOV Meramec River. Credit: KMOV
EUREKA, Mo. ( -

In the wake of two teenagers drowning at Castlewood State Park over the weekend, first responders are speaking out about the dangers of swimming in the Meramec River.

"The under current is a lot different underneath the water than it is on top," Mike Nies of the Eureka Fire Protection District said.

"The current underneath (the water) is a lot stronger. It can move a car easily. (Swimmers can) go into panic and if you're not trained to get out of that you're in a world of hurt."

Nies says just because the river looks like it's calm on the surface that doesn't mean it's okay to swim there.  At the section of the Castlewood State Park where the teenagers drowned there is also a steep drop off on the floor.

It goes from shallow to deep very quickly.

First responders say if you don't have a life vest on and you're not properly trained you have a very "slim chance" of surviving.  They say just because you can swim in a swimming pool that doesn't make you a strong swimmer.

Then once you realize you're in trouble, you do the worst thing possible.

You panic. When you panic your heart rate goes up and your oxygen level get depleted.

"It's fight or flight.  You want tunnel vision. You want out," Nies said.

No one obviously knows for sure what happened with the teenagers at Castlewood State Park over the weekend but a combination of all the above factors is quite possibly to blame for the incident.

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