The first incident occurred August 1, 2021 in the river near the Bogue Chitto State Park off Highway 25 south of Franklinton. A young man who was from Jefferson Parish drowned while the family was visiting the state park and swimming in the river. After a three day search, his body was recovered downstream from the park.
On August 9, 2021, a young male resident of Livingston Parish drowned near the Highway 437 bridge while on a tubing trip with friends. His body was recovered the same day. Three other persons in the tubing group who could not swim were rescued by deputies who arrived on the scene shortly after the drowning was reported.
During the searches for the two men, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies were assisted by personnel from Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search and Recovery in Slidell which utilizes sonar to help locate drowning victims. In both cases, the drowning victims were unable to swim.
“I cannot over-emphasize how dangerous the river can be,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “Anyone venturing in or on the river should be able to swim and always wear a life jacket, even if floating on a tube or riding in a boat. My heartfelt condolences go out to families of both of these young men. I am grateful to our officers for the many hours spent on the river in recovery efforts and to the Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search and Recovery team for their valued assistance.”