Iowa DNR reminds people of water safety along rivers, lakes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa DNR reminds people of water safety along rivers, lakes

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River banks were being aggressively searched Sunday afternoon for a 12-year-old boy who who authorities say jumped into Des Moines River and never resurfaced.

Firefighters were dispatched around 8 o'clock Saturday night near the Birdland Marina after the boy was playing with three friends and jumped off the dock into the river, according to Des Moines 

As crews were still monitoring the area where that boy went in, Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials in eastern Iowa talked to KWWL about safety and the dangers in and around large bodies of water.

Joe Wilkinson with the Iowa DNR says we're moving into the season where people are wanting to do water activities including boating, fishing and especially swimming on rivers, lakes, and streams.

"Be aware that it's a moving body of water, it can change," said Wilkinson. "The water clarity, the turbidity, you don't see what's there. OK, it looks safe, you jump in, maybe it's not."

He says underneath the waters could be a dam of danger, something you can't see from the surface.

Wilkinson says debris sailing underneath could be a deadly concern for boaters and swimmers if they get caught in it.

In a lot of the DNR's water accidents over the years, debris has been the actual problem, according to Wilkinson.

He says it's critical to be aware of the weather, be on the look out for a quick change in shallow areas, and exercise a lot of care while around rivers, lakes, and streams.

"Exercise a lot of care when you're out there, go with someone. Be careful while you're there and be aware that especially with moving water like rivers, things can change," said Wilkinson. "You've just got to be aware that that water changes, that there's a current, that if you're unsure at all have a life jacket on and if are sure still have a life jacket on."

He says you should always pay attention to warning signs because they let you know of unsafe areas.

There's still no word on how or why the 12-year old Des Moines boy never resurfaced, according to patrol officers.

The sheriff says the boy will remain listed as a missing person until he's is found.

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