Kayaking accident prompts calls for warning signs at Creve Coeur - KMOV.com

Kayaking accident prompts calls for warning signs at Creve Coeur Lake

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Creve Coeur Lake spillway. Credit: Russell Kinsaul Creve Coeur Lake spillway. Credit: Russell Kinsaul
Creve Coeur Lake. Credit: Russell Kinsaul Creve Coeur Lake. Credit: Russell Kinsaul
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Two kayakers say they narrowly avoided getting hurt when swift water swept them over the spillway at Creve Coeur Lake on Sunday.

"We could have hit our heads on the rocks, we could have been pinned under the water, easily pinned under the water. It was pretty scary," said Phyllis Ludwig, kayaker.

Ludwig says she and a friend wanted to explore the area of the lake that's beyond the pedestrian bridge and past the docks used by the St. Louis Rowing Club. But she says there were no signs warning of a spillway. 

"We had no clue we were not supposed to be back there with the boats until it was too late," said Ludwig.

She says as their kayaks got closer to the spillway, the pull of the water propelled them across the spillway. Ludwig says her boat was shot through a field of rocks and between the timbers of a train trestle, but her friend's boat capsized and got pinned against some timbers. The friend was able to climb out of the water without being hurt.

Tom Ott, Assistant Director for the St. Louis County Parks Department told News 4 that conditions at the spillway were out of the ordinary over the weekend that the two kayaked. 

"We don't necessarily consider it to be an unsafe area but we had a lot of rain on Friday, probably 2-3 inches of rain which elevated the lake level which means more water is going to flow out of the lake at the same time," said Ott. 

Ott says the county wants to keep boaters safe and will install signs warning of the spillway.

"For public safety reasons we will go ahead and put up signs but we do expect people to use good judgment and common sense," said Ott. 

Ludwig says she's glad the county will install warning signs but wants to see them go up sooner rather than later.

"But this would be a highly dangerous situation for a young child or anyone who has never been in a kayak before," said Ludwig.

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