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2 deaths along Amite River prompt officials to look into more tubing safety measures

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Tubing down the river may sound like a fun way to float away from the worries of the world, even if just for one afternoon, but this summer good times on the Amite River turned into tragedy.

That happened twice. Emergency crews have responded to a number of river rescues.

“Well the fire department out here in Central has had to respond and rescue just a couple of weeks ago over 15 people when the river was high, that were unfamiliar with the river and the dangerous currents and undertones that are on this rivers,” says David Barrow who is the Mayor of Central.

Barrow says crews from Central are often challenged with saving swimmers struggling to stay with their rafts, even though folks are launching their tubes from a business in another parish.

“The business is on the Livingston Parish side, but the rescue efforts are coming on the Central side,” adds Barrow.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks says he’s looking to create an ordinance that will guarantee safety for people who want to float down the river.

“So, we just need to make sure we’ve got somebody that I think is kind of monitoring ad making sure that people are doing what they are supposed to do because they do agree to go, they do decide on their own to go. So, they do bear some of the responsibility, but we need to make sure that the business owner as well is explaining and providing for them,” says Ricks.

Ricks says one of the reasons why these rescues keep happening is because some folks aren’t from around here and they don’t always understand the river conditions. Some of the safety measures he is looking to implement including making folks wear their life vests, another recommendation is for floaters to stay in their tube the whole time.

“So, there’s no ordinance, the state doesn’t have anything, we don’t have anything, wildlife has nothing. I think because of all of the accidents and things that have gotten on it, I may be time to address tubing,” adds Ricks.

Ricks says he does not want to shut down any businesses or keep folks away from having fun on the river, he just wants some rules in place to make the river safer.

Livingston Parish Council will be meeting in mid-August to discuss safety ordinances along the Amite River. It will be up to the Council to see what exactly needs to be done.

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