Coast Guard caution exposed river sand bars unsafe - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Coast Guard caution exposed river sand bars unsafe

MEMPHIS, TN (KFVS) -

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard advises residents to exercise caution regarding sand bars exposed by the extremely low water levels on the Mississippi River.

Although the sand bars may look like a beach, they can be very unstable and may collapse under the weight of a person.

"Although the river level is low, the speed and strength of the current remains high," Dave Berreta, the Corps' Chief of Hydraulics and Hydrology said.  "It is still a very dangerous river."

Coast Guard officials agree and offer this advice.  "The best stance for safety on the rivers is prevention.  Avoiding dangerous situations like traveling across unstable sandbars are the best way to increase one's safety near the river," Lt. Ryan Gomez, U.S. Coast Guard said.  "Also, the use of proper fitting U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is always a great idea when conducting any kind of activity near the water."

During the extreme low water in 1988 three children and an adult who tried to save them drowned after they were swept into the Mississippi River when a drought-weakened sandbar they were standing on collapsed near Ripley, Tennessee.

Three people also drowned under similar circumstances near Natchez, Mississippi in 1988.    

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly