Update for July 24, 2014

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San Antonio teenager drowns in Medina River

By Diane Cosgrove
Anvil Herald Staff

Deputies responded to a call Sunday at approximately 11:46 a.m., in reference to a possible missing child/drowning at Paradise Canyon near Rio Medina, according to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office. With the help of game wardens and Mico Volunteer Fire and Castroville Fire departments, the body of 15-year-old Joshua Biggles of San Antonio was found in the Medina River.

Paradise Canyon is a recreational area north of Castroville and south of Medina Lake.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden George Tamayo, who responded to the scene, said the student from Sandra Day O’Conner High School reportedly was at the park with family and friends and had entered the water with friends, who all began swimming from one side of the river to the other. Tamayo said witnesses said Biggles swam part of the way across, then for some reason, turned back. Initially, no one saw him begin quietly struggling in the water.

Tamayo said that a witness nearby spotted him flailing and jumped in to try to save him, but after several attempts, lost the boy in the muddy water. The game warden said he was told the water was about 17 feet deep in that pool of the river.

“Apparently, he was having trouble,” Tamayo said. “You know, when (someone’s) drowning, (they don’t shout) ‘I need help.’ It’s a quiet struggle.

“By the time one of the witnesses on or near the bank tried to go after him, he was already underwater,” he explained.

“Swimming in a pool in an apartment complex, in a creek or river, and in the ocean – those are three different environments,” Tamayo cautioned. “Swimming in a river is difficult, compared to a swimming pool, and even in the ocean, you have that buoyancy.

“I arrived about 1 p.m. The water is murky; you can’t see. We had to wait for a flat-bottomed boat and a drag line to retrieve (the victim). His body was recovered at 2:20 p.m.,” he concluded.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 3,533 people each year enter the water – usually for recreation – and drown, approximately 10 per day. Of those, almost 80 percent are male.

“This type of tragedy breaks my heart,” Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said Monday. “This young man’s family is in my prayers.”

 



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