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'The utmost important': Fire chief urges lifejacket use after teen drowns at Amerson River Park

On Tuesday, at around 6:35 p.m., a 17-year-old girl died from drowning in the river at Amerson River Park.

MACON, Ga. — There have been at least seven drownings in total at Amerson River Park. Macon-Bibb Fire Chief Shane Edwards urges visitors to wear a lifejacket.

They're required by law by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) that you must have those. Anybody under the age of 13 should have one on at all times.

On Tuesday, at around 6:35 p.m., a 17-year-old girl died from drowning in the river at Amerson River Park.

Bill Love has lived in Macon for a while and walks along the river often. He said it's sad this accident happened to her.

"Anybody that lose their life, that's a final. That's something you can't repair," Love said.

According to the CDC, about 11 people die each day from drowning in the United States. Love says he isn't a good swimmer but knows the water looks deceiving.

"The rip currents going around that corner out into the middle, the rip currents go around that corner and swing and grab a hold of you and pull you under," Love said.

There are signs posted at the north and south entrances of the river telling people how to swim out of a current and to wear a lifejacket at all times. Usually, there is a place at the starting entrance of the river where people can borrow lifejackets. Edwards says they are working with the city to get more, but the idea is you return the lifejacket for the next person to use and possible save a life.

"We're going to have those lifejackets out here onsite for people to be able to use and utilize when they're on the river. Like I said, personal flotation devices are the utmost important," Edwards.

Edwards says when you are on the river to stay safe, stay hydrated, but most importantly, if something goes wrong, please call 911.

You can find more information about Georgia's boating laws here.

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