Cape Girardeau FD: Mississippi riverfront not for swimming

Cape Girardeau FD: Mississippi riverfront not for swimming
(Source: KFVS12/Jessica Whittaker
(Source: KFVS12/Jessica Whittaker

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The hot weather may have you looking for a way to cool off, but safety should always come first.

A KFVS12 viewer snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook on Wednesday that shows people putting themselves at risk, according to emergency officials.

The photo was taken at the riverfront in Cape Girardeau and it appears to show three people in their bathing suits wading into the Mississippi River. A fourth person appears to be sitting on the shore.

First responders say they have a message for any would-be followers: don't.

"Doesn't surprise me," Battalion Chief Mark Starnes with the Cape Fire Department said.

He says he's seen it before but that doesn't make it safe.

"This rivers always got current," Starnes said. "You can see what appears to be hardly no current or ripples as we call them. And that's where the current is constantly changing directions."

In addition to an often unstable bottom, losing control in the water could spell disaster.

"It can go from sand to mud to rocks in just a couple feet," he said. "You could literally go in the water right here by where we're standing and in just a matter of a minutes or so you could under water and we might not be able to find you, you might not come back up."

Starnes and his crew are experts at water rescue, but even then, they're minutes away and that could be too late.
"Safer to be watching from the shore than out on the water," a river-front goer said.

So take his advice and enjoy the view, just don't become part of it.

"It is hot it is summer time but just [use] common sense," Starnes said.

Anytime you are swimming somewhere without a life guard on duty, emergency crews recommend wearing a life jacket.

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