Heat Wave: recent drownings highlight dangers on the water

OROVILLE, Calif. - The four-day Fourth of July weekend poses great opportunities for family fun on Northstate waterways.

But water can pose great danger as well.

With Wednesday's temperatures again reaching the triple digits, people sought some relief in the cool waters of the Thermalito in Oroville.  One visitor said it's colder that .

The extended holiday weekend, combined with the skyrocketing temperatures, have officials expecting more than a thousand people to visit the Afterbay over the next four days.

Dan Turner is already set to sail.  He had his boat out on the water Wednesday with four children in town.  As a father, he's closely watched the news of recent drownings and near-drownings in the Northstate. 

One incident involved a life-saving water rescue of a family of four who got into trouble while tubing on the

"It's just sad every time I hear of a kid, a death that could have been prevented," said Turner.  "They're not wearing their life vests."

Both adults and children need to wear life vests.  Last weekend a 29-year-old man drowned in in .  At the , a 17-year-old boy survived a near-drowning.

Steve Collins of the Butte County Sheriff's Office described how the 17-year-old got into trouble.

"He couldn't swim, waded into the water too far, and began panicking," said Collins.  "He'd already swallowed water to the point he was unconscious."

Collin said the message is clear.  It doesn't take long to lose your life on the water.

"We've had a number of sad experiences that could have been avoided had a life jacket been worn, had closer attention been paid."

An elongated Fourth of July weekend means more good times, but potentially more tragic ones on the water.  The Butte County Sheriff's Office will be patrolling the waters, trying to keep people safe.

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