Boating Safety Urged For Holiday Weekend After Multiple Incidents

Sunday, July 3rd 2022, 10:19 pm
By: News On 6, Ashlyn Brothers

MANNFORD, Oklahoma -

It's been a deadly holiday weekend on Oklahoma waters ahead of the 4th of July. We're learning new details about two separate, water-related deaths: one at Lake Eufaula and the other at Grand Lake.

Many people are spending their days on the water, taking advantage of area lakes but authorities are begging people to put their safety first.

A fun weekend has turned tragic for some families.

The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Police Department said a man jumped from the cliffs at Dripping Springs on Grand Lake around 6:30 Saturday evening and never resurfaced.

GRDA said officers recovered the victim's body in 31 feet of water around 7 p.m.

Just an hour before, another deadly incident, this time at Lake Eufaula.

The Oklahoma Highway Lake Patrol said 23-year-old Braxton Byrd from Norman died after a boating accident near Porum Landing.

Troopers tell us Byrd, who was wearing a life jacket, was wake surfing behind a boat when he fell into the water and was accidentally hit by the boat.

Troopers said there were 15 people between the ages of 18 to 23 onboard.

"Make sure you know where everybody is at all times. It’s always best to put that boat in neutral or turn it off when people are getting on and off the boat," said Hutch Todd, Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Park Ranger Hutch Todd said to keep a fire extinguisher, sound-producing device, plenty of life jackets, a paddle, an anchor, and your registration on board.

He said you can never be sure what's in the water.

"Don’t dive head-first anywhere," said Todd.

Lifelong lake goer Denise Henderson said to watch out for no-wake zones and sand bars.

“Pay attention. If you have a depth finder, use it," said Denise Henderson. "If you’re under 12 you’re wearing a life jacket period"

Todd said to make sure you're at least 50 feet away from another boat and 150 feet from a structure like a dock or a shoreline.