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DEADLY HOLIDAY: 2 drown in Keystone Lake

Keystone Lake Drowning.jpg
Posted at 2:36 PM, Jul 04, 2024

PAWNEE COUNTY — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Pawnee County Sheriff's Office said two people drowned at Keystone Lake.

OHP said a 14-year-old boy and his family were on a small inflatable raft at Appalachia Bay Area at Keystone Lake when he fell off the raft and struggled to swim.

Nathaniel Richardson, 39, jumped into the water to rescue him, and when he went underwater, he didn't resurface.

OHP's dive team recovered their bodies in 12 feet of water.

"What a tragedy for the 4th of July 2024. I believe this is the first one that we’ve had this weekend. And it was a double," said OHP Trooper Ryan Griffith.

2 dead in drowning at Keystone Lake

A variety of agencies responded to calls of a drowning at the lake.

Griffith said it’s important to be aware of water.

"Keep those inflatable devices close to shore and just wear a PFD. Wear a personal flotation device," said Griffith.

When 2 News arrived at the scene two patrol boats searched for those bodies. They later recovered them and they are now at the medical examiner's office.

Griffith said this tragedy is a good reminder to be safe.
"I mean these things (life vests) are designed to keep you floating and we are not fish and we can’t float like a fish does," said Trooper Griffith.

Ahead of Memorial Day in May, 2 News rode along with an Army Corps of Engineer Ranger on Keystone Lake.

Ranger Tanner Huckaby also talked about the importance of life jackets.

"I just tell people it’s better to be cautious than sorry," said Huckaby

Oklahoma requires people 13 and younger to wear lifevests when on a boat. While not required for inflatable rafts, they are strongly recommended, especially when busy.

Trooper Griffith said he highly recommends people put their safety first.

A person on shore saw the family in trouble and jumped in, saving the other three family members.

"It’s amazing what he did. He said he didn’t realize what he was doing when he did it and he was glad that he did it. But he will definitely reevaluate something like that again because he said, 'I was worn out. I could have very well if I couldn’t swim, and I wasn’t in good shape.' He said, 'I don’t think I would have made it,'" said Griffith.

Multiple other areas of the state also saw drownings. It was reported that one person drowned at Grand Lake, one at Lake Thunderbird, and one at a waterpark in Colcord.

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