Four drowning deaths in a week cause concerns

Posted at 9:54 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 01:40:56-04

Following the drowning deaths of two young brothers, a kayaker and a Colorado Mesa University football player, rescuers and survivors want to warn others.

"I come here every day," said John Vogels, walking in the cemetery where his three-year-old son was buried in 2011. "After work, I come here, and I sit in prayer and put three kisses on the marker for each year I had him."

His son, Bladyn, ran out of their backyard five years ago and drowned in a neighbor's decorative pond.

"He was hiding, and by the time [his mother] found him, it was too late," said Vogels.

He has since started the Martyred Angels Foundation to support parents who have lost children, both financially and with grief services, and he said he has offered to help the family of the two brothers who died this week.

"Words can’t even express how sad I am for that family and what they’re about to have go through. It’s really really tough," he said. "I just want to reach out to these other families to let them know that they're not alone."

Every year, statistics show about 10 children drown in Colorado.

"People absolutely underestimate the risk," said Tim Woodward, founder of the Colorado Drowning Prevention Task Force.

He said unfortunately, four drowning deaths in one week is not unusual.

"Two years ago, we lost about 12 in one month, and it was during the spring runoff," said Woodward, who is concerned that this year's runoff is anticipated to be high. "You turn around for 15 seconds and that’s all it takes for a kiddo to slip under the water. Without people constantly being in front of us and telling us how dangerous it is and us reminding each other of that, it's going to fall by the wayside."

Woodward recommends taking swim lessons, wear life jackets, and keep your children within arms' reach.


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