Boating safety recommended for holiday weekend after several incidents

It was a deadly holiday weekend on Oklahoma waters before the 4th of July. We are learning new details about two separate water-related deaths: one at Lake Eufaula and the other at Grand Lake.

Many people spend their days on the water, enjoying the area’s lakes, but authorities are pleading with people to put their safety first.

A fun weekend turned tragic for some families.

The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Police Department said a man jumped from the Dripping Springs cliffs onto Grand Lake around 6:30 a.m. Saturday night and never surfaced.

The GRDA said officers recovered the victim’s body from 31 feet of water around 7 p.m.

Just an hour before, another fatal incident, this time at Lake Eufaula.

The Oklahoma Highway Lake Patrol said 23-year-old Braxton Byrd of Norman died after a boating accident near Porum Landing.

Soldiers tell us Byrd, who was wearing a life jacket, was wake surfing behind a boat when he fell in the water and was accidentally hit by the boat.

The soldiers said there were 15 people between the ages of 18 and 23 on board.

“Make sure you know where everyone is at all times. It’s always best to put this boat in neutral or shut it down when people are getting on and off the boat,” said Hutch Todd, Park Ranger of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Park Ranger Hutch Todd said to keep a fire extinguisher, sound-producing device, plenty of life jackets, a paddle, an anchor and your check-in on board.

He said you can never be sure what’s in the water.

“Don’t dive headfirst anywhere,” Todd said.

A lifelong lake fan, Denise Henderson said to watch out for no-wake areas and sandbars.

“Be careful. If you have a depth sounder, use it,” Denise Henderson said. “If you’re under 12, you wear a vintage life jacket.”

Todd said to make sure you’re at least 50 feet from another boat and 150 feet from a structure like a dock or shore.

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