City officials and Columbus community discuss water safety and drowning prevention

City officials and Columbus community discuss water safety and drowning prevention

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - News leader 9 is dedicated to keeping the public safe while on the Chattahoochee River.

On Wednesday, WTVM was on the road talking with the community and city leaders on what can be done to improve safety on the river.

In a special broadcast, News Leader 9 spoke to the grandfather of six-year-old Jeremiah Henderson about how the family is moving forward after Jeremiah drowned in the river less than a month ago.

“They should have a river patrol. I noticed while we were here searching for our young man, they had a police officer going back and forth, but he was up top. If they could bring someone down here on the river and have a river patrol, I think this would prevent something like this from happening,” said George McElroy.

This tragedy brought back heartfelt memories of a Columbus mother who lost her son in 2015. 14-year old Coleton Brown of Seale Alabama drowned in the river near the 13th Street bridge.

“We need to come together as a community because it’s really going to take the community’s help as well," said Brown’s mother Nona Adams.

In our special coverage, we spoke with law enforcement officials and Mayor Skip Henderson who said they’re in the process of making the river safer through a task force, both for Columbus residents and visitors from across the country. Visitors and Columbus residents said they’re glad the community is stepping in to prevent another drowning.

“Anytime there’s a loss of life, particularly especially in something that’s generally preventable like water safety usually is, I think it’s wonderful that the community is coming out and putting water preservatives out to try to make it at least a little bit safer,” said Columbus resident Greyson Chappelle.

“Safety is a number one priority when you’re doing anything in the water at all. It happens so quickly. It just takes a matter of minutes to drown,” said visitor Donna Kingry.

The first meeting for a task force dedicated to river safety happened on Tuesday. Henderson said this is an ongoing process to keep people safe.

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