It was the first tragic news of its kind in a long time on the Parker Strip: a 15 year-old boy died by drowning in the river at La Paz County Park over Memorial Day weekend.
The boy was visiting with his family from the Phoenix, AZ area and was stationed on a riverfront stretch of the park Sunday, where children played by the water and adults were set up nearby. Reportedly the boy could not swim and was wearing a lifejacket while playing in the river. But the jacket slipped off as he jumped in, according to sources familiar with the situation. The current at the location was fast and carried him away quickly. By the time the alert was raised and the boy was found, he had been underwater for several minutes, according to reports.
“We all witnessed the situation unfold and knew something terrible was happening,” said a bystander who saw what happened from the other side of the river. “A young man was taken away in an ambulance. An hour later his family was dealing with the realization that he wasn’t coming home.”
The response time by divers from Buckskin Fire Department was less than 10 minutes, according to sources, but even with such a fast response, attempts at resuscitation were ultimately unsuccessful.
It was a busy weekend on the Colorado River as always, with heavy boat traffic, packed resorts and parks, and thousands of people out on the shores of the river. But nobody was expecting tragedy to strike during such a time of recreation and fun.
Now, a family member has set up a fundraising page to help the boy’s mother with transporting him back to Phoenix and burial expenses (LINK). Parker Live has verified the authorship of the fundraising page through the boy’s mother.
County authorities told Parker Live the tragedy was the first of its kind in a long time, and expressed sadness about it. The Parker Strip has a generally very good safety record, for the numbers of people and the nature of watersports and boating, especially on big weekends. Properly-fitted life jackets are a vital safety tool around the water.
American Red Cross ‘Learn to Swim’ lessons are beginning Monday, June 6th in Parker, AZ. Go HERE for more information.
(Editor’s note: Out of an abundance of caution during this family’s difficult time, I haven’t mentioned the boy’s name, even though his first name is mentioned on GoFundMe. The above photograph was provided on that page.)