After Wilson Creek drownings, people still not wearing life vest - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

After Wilson Creek drownings, people still not wearing life vests

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CALDWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Two days after a man not wearing a life vest drowned in Wilson Creek, people still flocked to the swimming holes to get in the water.

"People usually don't  wear vests out here," said Chase Hucks, who had just jumped off a cliff into the water and swam to shore, without wearing a life vest.

He had heard of Monday's drowning and said he thought about it before heading to the creek. "Kinda made me not want to come," he said.

Authorities have been advising people to bring flotation vests this summer. The water in Wilson Creek has been running deeper and faster than most other years because of all the rain that has fallen this summer.

When two people, without vests, drowned in July, water levels were several feet above normal with whitewater rapids in places not used to seeing it.

Kayaker Dan Thomas was wearing a vest on Wednesday and said it's a good idea for everyone, even if the water doesn't seem swift. "Even swimmers will fall," he said.

One of the big dangers in Wilson Creek are the huge boulders.

Thomas said it wouldn't take much for someone to slip and hit their head and go deep into water and get caught in submerged crevices or be swept into them by the current. "Anything can happen and you ought to wear a vest," he said. 

Authorities say they cannot force people to wear them but want them to realize what can happen even when the water appears calm, as it did on Monday. Non-swimmers, especially, need to have a vest on if they are anywhere near the water, say officials.

Meanwhile Monday's drowning victim was identified. He was Elder Ortiz Velasquez. He would have been 23 years old on Wednesday.

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