Following the drowning of 28-year-old Luis Robles of Springfield over the weekend, safety officials were warning residents to use caution when going swimming.
On Monday, Five Mile Pond lifeguard Robert Carvalho said it was important for people to take at least one other person when swimming in case there is an emergency. He said water is fickle and every place is different. Swimming pools can be crowded, but the water is clear and any obstructions are easy to see.
Carvalho pointed out, in ponds and rivers, objects can be hidden just beneath the surface that can cause problems for swimmers. Other potential problems for swimmers included high winds and river currents. Carvalho said even strong swimmers could get into trouble quickly, especially if they are not familiar with the water.
Families enjoyed Five Mile Pond in Springfield on Monday and said they keep a close eye on their children because they can disappear in the blink of an eye.
In Westfield, Mandi Riel enjoyed a splash park with her two young children. She said she would not bring her children to the river for swimming. She wished the city would make use of vacant property to build more places for residents to cool off. Riel said she believes more pools and splash parks would keep people safe and away from the river.
Authorities also urged people to limit the use of alcohol when swimming. Alcohol can cause dehydration and loss of muscle control along with impaired judgment.
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