Pine Belt urged to observe swimming safety guidelines

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Across South Mississippi, folks are looking to cool off from the sweltering heat from above.

But in Greene County Sunday, search and rescue crews looked for Mitchell Scott, 20, who was visiting family near McLain. Scott was attempting to swim across the Leaf River but was taken under. His body was recovered four hours later.

"There's so many dangers with swift water especially the rivers and stuff. You have undertows, you have all types of currents you can't see what's going on underneath the water," said Hattiesburg firefighter and swift water rescuer Jason Hill.

Hill also says be mindful of just how deep the water is and wherever there's a current, there needs to be a life jacket.

"That's probably number one on swift water. If you don't have a life jacket stay out of the water," said Hill.

The dangers of water were on the mind of Gina McMurry Monday who spent part of the day at the Leaf River looking after several young children.

"They're kids, they don't have any worries. Kids don't have any worries, that's why you have to be a mindful adult and keep your guard up and pay attention," said McMurry.

From the young to the old the realities of water, as inviting as it may look, should never be taken for granted.

"Know your limitations with the water, know your ability if you can swim. Never try to cross a river. Never try to wade across a river because that current will take you away," said Hill.

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