Drowning doesn’t look like drowning: Here’s how to spot it


New details on the drowning at Lake Thurmond that happened Friday.

Nearly 20 hours after he went under, the body of 60-year-old Ronnie McGruder was discovered by a fisherman Saturday morning.

Witnesses told police McGruder had gone swimming after his boat, which had gotten loose, Friday. 

NewsChannel 6 is still waiting for autopsy results.

With the weather heating up and families looking toward summer fun in the water, the possibility of drowning accidents increase.

But do you know what it looks like when someone is drowning? It’s not what you think, and it’s not what Hollywood portrays.

Lifeguards at the Wilson YMCA say it can be as simple as just going down.

More than 360,000 people die around the world from drowning every year. Experts say that the actual act of drowning is quick and silent. 

Rachel Mills says there are two types of ways people drown; silently and someone panicking for help. 

She says when you suspect someone drowning, call 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t hesitate; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“You need to call for 9-1-1 automatically,” said Mills. “Because you never know what happened.”

Mills says you should be on alert if you see a person has been under water longer than 20 seconds.

“You might can’t tell until you look at them real good,” said Curtis Johnson. “You might think they are playing or something.”

If you’re considering going in to help someone, remember it’s crucial the keep yourself safe first. 

“The probability of them pulling you down with them is high,” explained Mills. “Because they are freaking out, they are going to try to use you to float.” 

Johnson, who has his grandchildren in swim lessons, says people near bodies of water should recognize the signs to be able to prevent accidental drownings.

“Somebody will let you know if they are drowning,” said Johnson. “If they get too far out in the water, they might hold their hands out, or they can’t breathe.”

That’s why he says it’s vital for him to keep an eye on his little swimmers during family time at the pool.

“That’s why I keep them in a safety zone like four and five feet until they want to learn how to swim,” explained Johnson. 

And for those going to the lake this Summer.

“You should not swim around a boat if even if it’s not running,” said Mills. “If it’s moving it can cause those rip currents or those waves and that can pull you under, you can hit your head.”

The people who are most at risk from drowning are men, children, and minorities.

The organization “The Worlds Largest Swimming Lesson”  reports for every child who dies from drowning another five receive emergency care for submersion injuries.

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