Caution: The Amite River Is Unforgiving

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By Dave Freneaux

This weekend’s drowning near Magnolia Bridge of a 20 year old father while rescuing his son from the current should serve as a reminder of how dangerous the rivers bordering Central can be.  The Amite River marks the east boundary of Central while the Comite River bounds the west.  Everyone knows, or should know, that when they are swollen with rain from areas to our north the two rivers are powerful, and swimming or even boating should not even be considered.  However, at normal river levels each of these rivers have average depths of only a few feet, which disguises the danger that is always present.
A quick Google search yielded the following:
May 22nd, the 20 year old drowns in the Amite at Magnolia Bridge
May 15th, a 17 year old drowns in the Amite at Holden
May 10th, a 10 year old drowns in the Amite in Port Vincent
May 5th, a 19 year old drowns in the Amite at St. Amant
The Amite River, in 17 days, has taken the lives of four young people, aged 20 and under, in this area alone. 
Because the Comite and Amite are relatively small rivers with many twists and turns, stronger currents during high water carve out extremely deep channels which remain there even after the rivers have returned to their relatively calm look.  It was one such channel, where the four foot deep river plunged to a depth of 14 feet, which caused this weekend’s tragedy.   During the search following the drowning the scuba diver who first searched this channel stated that the current at the bottom of the channel was so strong that he was barely able to stand.  Think twice about swimming in our rivers, and if you do choose to swim, be on the watch for the hidden dangers that are always nearby.