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Texas Endures Tough Stretch of Water Related Accidents, Fatalities

By: Lynn Burkhead, OutdoorChannel.com

The month of May was a tragic time across the state of Texas in terms of water related safety.

Truth be known, the Lone Star State has endured an almost unprecedented run of water related injuries and fatalities on water bodies scattered around the state.

Since May 9, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says that at least 24 people have lost their lives on Texas waters in boating or swimming accidents worked by the agency's game wardens.

If that number seems unusually high, it is.

According to TPWD, last year the U.S. Coast Guard reported146 water-related accidents in the state with 31 ending in fatalities.

The past several weeks - including the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend - have nearly equaled that mark across the vast state.

According to TPWD, Texas game wardens investigated seven drowning deaths and another four boating-related fatalities across the state over the Memorial Day holiday period.

Those boating related fatalities, which included a jet ski accident at Joe Pool Lake in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, were a part of 21 boating accidents investigated by TPWD wardens.

“Texas game wardens will remember this Memorial Day weekend for years to come,” said Lt. Col. Danny Shaw, Deputy Director of Law Enforcement for TPWD.

“Tragically, this was one of the deadliest three-day holidays in recent memory," he added.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all this weekend’s victims."

In addition to those fatalities, TPWD game wardens issued several hundred water safety citations over the Memorial Day weekend while making numerous arrests.

The latter included 31 persons arrested for boating while intoxicated, seven for driving while intoxicated, 14 for public intoxication and 36 on various drug-related offenses.

Shaw promises that game wardens will do all they can to keep Texas waterways safe this summer.

“Game wardens will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to protect Texans on our public water," said Shaw.

"I would implore all Texans when boating to wear their lifejackets, be aware of their surroundings and return home safely with their families.”

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