Double drowning at Smithville Lake reminds boaters and swimmers of water rescue protocol

SMITHVILLE LAKE, Mo. - News of the two men who drowned at Smithville Lake on Thursday traveled among boaters at the marina.

"People on the water, you have to help each other out, you're kind of by yourselves when you're out there," boater Tyler Powell said.

"You're so sad for their family and those who were around when it happened," fellow boater Dave Maggart said.

It's not only what happened, but how it happened, that's serving as a lesson for those who love the water.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, one man lost his footing in the lake Thursday and went under, his friend tried to help. Both men drowned.

"Unfortunately when you have a drowning victim, they are in survival mode. They become superman as far as their strength and a small child could drown any adult," Trooper Kim Davis said.

Davis recommends extending anything that floats to the struggling swimmer so they can be pulled to safety.

This is information some of these boaters know, but they admit their instincts would respond differently.

"I would first just jump in myself and try to help them. They may not be able to grab whatever it is that is around," Maggart said.

Maggart's instincts are like the majority of other's—instincts that can and should be changed with water safety training.

But Powell says someone's instincts could make a bad situation even worse.

"He's going to pull you over and if you're not wearing the proper equipment you're going to be in the same predicament and make the situation twice as bad as it was originally," Powell said.

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