COLUMBUS, Ga. – One year after a Phenix City teen drowned in the Chattahoochee, two local organizations are using a new safety video to promote river safety. Uptown Columbus and Columbus Georgia Whitewater are using the new strategy to prevent more drownings in the river.
“The river’s dangerous and a lot of people don’t realize it,” Columbus native Roy Munson said.
Munson stars in the new video outlining precautions before enjoying the river. He says at times, the river may look safe, but levels can change during the course of the day. He adds that unlike a public pool, it’s hard to keep track of every person that does an activity in the river.
“It’s so accessible that it’s hard to control the access and patrol when people are getting in and out of the water,” Munson explained.
One year ago this week, 14-year-old Phenix City teen Coleton Brown fell into the Chattahoochee and drowned. Crews say he was not wearing a PFD, or personal flotation device, or a helmet. Both Uptown Columbus and Whitewater Express advise that everyone wear a PFD and helmet when playing by the rocks or down near the river.
Jasper Woodham indirectly knows Coleton’s story. Jasper, 9, says safety is important because the fun could stop in an instant. Uptown Columbus President Richard Bishop notes that the teaching tools in the video don’t just apply to river safety.
“We don’t want any drownings on the river,” Bishop said. “Unfortunately above us, in West Point, there were two drownings in the past two months. And to my knowledge, neither one had on a PFD.”