PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — As temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s in some parts of western Washington this week, many people are heading to places like Lake Tapps in Pierce County to cool off. But authorities are urging people not to let their guard down in the water.
Over the weekend, authorities were called to two incidents involving swimmers needing help on the lake. One of the swimmers, whose body was found on Friday, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second person was rescued from the water on Sunday and is currently in serious condition.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said underestimating the dangers when you're out in the water could put you in a scary situation.
“When you’re out in the heat, the water’s extremely cold, it affects your body differently,” said Sgt. Darren Moss Jr. of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. “You’re in that water for a long time, and your muscles don’t work the same way. People get halfway out, and go down and need help.”
Authorities are now asking people to protect themselves when they get into the water by doing the following:
- Wearing a life vest, or have a floatation device on hand.
- Swimming along the shoreline instead of out in open water.
- Letting people know where you are.
Sheriff officials said these tips could mean the difference between a nice day out, and a tragedy.
“It’s something people might not think about, they just wanna go and have fun, it’s a nice day, let’s go hang out on the beach, let the kids splash in the water, which is always fine, and always fun…but people have to remember water can be dangerous,” said Moss.