Lynchburg, VA - This weekend, one needless death turned to two at Smith Mountain Lake, becoming the 5th and 6th people to drown there this year. Would you know what to do - if you see someone, maybe someone you love, struggling in the water?
So often, these deaths can be prevented. Whether you're out on the lake, or swimming in the pool, drowning is always a risk. But you can avoid a situation like the one that happened on Saturday.
The latest Smith Mountain Lake swimming tragedy; a man jumped into the water to save his struggling friend.
"If you know somebody that's in trouble, that's in the water, is to try to stay on dry land and try to reach for them. Try to get them something that floats, that keeps you out of harm's way," said Jay Parker, Lynchburg YMCA Branch Director.
Experts say whether you're poolside, or by the lake, do not jump in and try to save someone who's drowning. "That person that you're going after, although it may be a loved one, is in fear. They're trying to save their life. They don't think there's daddy, there's momma, there's husband," said Parker.
You're now seen as the victim's flotation device, and more often than not, two will drown, instead of one.
"The average swimmer, or below swimmer, is not going to make the rescue, they're going to get into danger," said Parker.
Lifeguards know saving techniques the best. First they say, look for anything that can be used to pull the person from the water.
"You want to look around for branches on trees or different things. Or if you're swimming, you probably have towels, you probably have pool noodles," said a YMCA lifeguard.
Next, get on your stomach. You're the most stable from this position.
"James, grab the noodle, grab the noodle. And pull them; hand over hand to the side," said the lifeguard.
"It could happen to adults or whatever. You have to be safe around water, water will hurt you," said Parker.
It's also important that you don't overestimate your swimming ability. Use personal flotation devices, and always be sure someone is with you when you're swimming; No one can help you if you're alone.