Concerns grow at Green River Lake State Park after 3 drownings in 2 weeks

Taylor County first responders issue safety warnings after three deaths in two weeks at Green...
Taylor County first responders issue safety warnings after three deaths in two weeks at Green River Lake.(WAVE)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There have been three drownings at Green River Lake in the last two weeks, drawing concern from local authorities.

It only takes seconds for your fun adventures at the lake to become disastrous and with summer right around the corner. Taylor County First Responders want to ensure safety takes priority.

The three deaths have been deemed drowning accidents and all three have required the Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Team, divers and other agencies to respond.

Experts said to always be aware of your surroundings because the signs of drowning may not be what you think.

“Drowning does not look like it does in movies,” Taylor County Coroner Daniel Cook said. “You know, a lot of the time people think it’s somebody flailing their arms and screaming, ‘Help! Help!’ And it doesn’t look like that. Drowning is silent and sometimes not even noticed, and that’s why so many people drown before anybody l realizes what’s going on.”

Cook said the first incident happened May 22 when a LaRue County man accidentally backed his car into the lake and couldn’t escape the vehicle.

He later died at Taylor Regional Hospital

The second was on May 31 when a Hardin County man drowned while swimming with friends and family. A person nearby was able to grab him before he sank to the bottom, but despite CPR efforts, the man died at the hospital.

The third happened on June 4 when a Jefferson County man walked into a no-swimming zone and then disappeared. His body wasn’t discovered until the next day when crews found him more than fifty feet deep in the lake.

Pages like these are what Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Taylor said they dread getting.

“You know you’re sort of in disbelief, and you’re hoping it’s not true and by the time you get out there, you’re hoping maybe someone was struggling but made it to shore and everything will be fine,” Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Chief Chris Taylor said. “But then again, in the back of your mind, you know it’s probably not going to be a good outcome.”

The two most recent incidents happened in designated no-swimming zones, where water level drop-offs and debris make it more difficult.

Coroner Cook believes wearing life jackets and paying attention to signs could have prevented at least two of these tragedies.

“One of the biggest things they can do is make sure they’re swimming in designated areas,” Cook said. “There are beached-designated areas that are all marked with a little yellow floating buoy, and those are designated swimming areas that the Corp and state parks determine are safer.”

The low visibility and debris can also make search and rescue even more challenging for crews at Green River Lake, so staying in the right areas could be the difference between life and death.

If you take the right precautions, first responders encourage everyone to have fun.

“We want people to come to Green River Lake,” Taylor said. “It’s a beautiful area and there’s a lot of really good things to do at the lake, but we just want you to be safe and to wear your life jacket and to keep your eye out on your family and friends and have each other’s back.”

Both Chief Taylor and Coroner Cook said it’s imperative to always have a plan for when out in the water because no one is invincible and not knowing your limits can change lives in a moment.