HILLSVILLE, Va. — A Mount Airy man drowned over the weekend while tubing in the New River in Virginia, according to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim was identified as Harrison Jay Brooks, 64, who resided on Fireside Lane. He died Saturday in a section of the New River in Fries, just above a low-water bridge.
Members of the drowning victim’s family advised that their group had gotten into the water at Fries Recreation Park and had been floating for a couple of hours. After realizing the group had become separated, family members started looking for Brooks.
They observed him fall off his tube and that he was struggling in the water. By the time family members reached Brooks, he was already underwater.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office had received a call regarding the incident, with Deputy Jake Worrell and Sgt. Cody Edwards arriving to find Fries Rescue Squad members attempting resuscitation measures on the victim.
Brooks was transported to Twin County Regional Hospital by the squad.
Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner advised in a statement that such tragedies are not uncommon on the New River.
The river often looks deceptively shallow, but there are many deep spots and the currents can be extremely strong. Sheriff Gardner also offered these safety tips for citizens to keep in mind to ensure an enjoyable time in the water:
• It is possible to drown in as little as an inch or two of water.
• Learning CPR can save a life.
• If the victim is not breathing, bystanders can improve a victim’s odds of survival the sooner CPR is started.
• Never leave a child in the water alone, even for a second.
• All children and adults should know how to swim.
• Never swim alone.
• Life jackets are important when on the open water, even for a good swimmer.
• Don’t use alcohol or medications while on the water, since it slows down one’s reaction time.