Drownings Didn’t Have to Happen
The two drownings at Falls Park are a tragedy, and there's no doubt about it.
Two people trying to help rescue a six-year-old boy from the water, one of them the boy's 16-year-old sister, are lost. The river is really running, the ice can be two feet thick and the foam can be anywhere from six to ten feet deep, making rescue very difficult.
But I keep coming back to this: Those two drownings didn't have to happen.
There's no use in pointing fingers now, but the fact remains that the Big Sioux River, or any other river, can be a dangerous place if you get too close.
A reporter asked Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras if he expected more fences to be put up at Falls Park, and of course he said no. But he points out that while the Falls are the crown jewel of Sioux Falls, and that people should enjoy them, we all need to be careful.
Chief Sideras says the rocks along the river can be slippery when they get wet, and the mist from the Falls can turn them icy when the weather is right.
And for that matter, you could fence off the river all the way around Sioux Falls, and someone would still climb over to get closer to the water.
The point I'm making is this: No law is going to make people more careful, so it's up to all of us.
If you bring your children to the Falls, that's great. Enjoy them and have a good time. It's one of the most beautiful places I know.
But keep an eye on the kids, and make sure they, and you don't get too close.
We've already had far too many drownings.