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Police warn fun-seekers about swimming hole dangers

Published On: Jun 18 2013 12:12:50 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 18 2013 05:14:25 PM CDT

Caleb James reports.

ST. ANTHONY, Idho -

When the hot summer comes around, many eastern Idahoans like to hit the river or the pool. 

In a split second though, water can be an enemy. 

The St. Anthony sand bar is no doubt a fun summer hangout, but can be deadly in a split second.

Local law enforcement watches the area, but on Monday, the St. Anthony Police remind fun-seekers caution is the key to saving lives. 

“We come out probably at least every other day," said BYU-Idaho student Kelsey Jensen.  

Jensen and her BYU-Idaho classmates have a hard time staying away from St. Anthony in the summer. 

“You can sit and law out, play in the water, go on the diving board,” said Jensen. 

Monday was definitely a diving board day.

“We always go in a group, so no one is alone,” she said. 

Jensen said behind all the laughs, and the fun, there's a healthy understanding of the risk. Everyone in her group knows there's potential for danger in the Henry’s Fork current.

“I'm paranoid,” said Jordan Croninger. “I don't jump off of anything.”

Croninger said a good float downstream is usually enough for her. 

“I'm afraid of drowning, so I always think of that,” said Croninger. 

St. Anthony police Sgt. Terry Harris said caution is key during summers at the sandbar. 

“Basically, it's an uncontrolled environment, just like any river,” said Harris. 

Emergency calls come in each year from the area. 

“Mostly, it's diving from places they shouldn't be,” said Harris. 

Harris said too often thrill seekers take a plunge off the suspended waterline behind the diving board. It’s actually illegal, and water levels below vary dramatically. 

“It's actually posted no trespassing,” said Harris.  

Harris offered some other thoughts on water safety that apply really anywhere you go: 

-- There are often snags, or un-even bottoms in rivers and ponds. 

-- Staying with a group means you'll get help more quickly if you need it. 

-- Steer clear of rapids and other unsettled water; there's no way to tell how strong a current is, until you're in it. 

There are signs posted at the sandbar area in St. Anthony showing danger levels based on how high the water is flowing.   

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