Lifeguards play role in helping save life at Covell Lake

Local News

A kayaking trip on Covell Lake in Sioux Falls ended in tragedy Saturday night when two kayakers capsized. Police say a 17-year-old boy died and a 22-year-old man who also fell in the water was taken to the hospital. Police say they will not be releasing the names of the two people involved.

While one person lost his life, city officials are crediting lifeguards from the nearby Terrace Park who quickly sprang into action for saving the 22-year-old’s life. 

Rescue crews spent hours searching for a kayaker.  Before they arrived on scene, there was some quick thinking by lifeguards from the pool nearby.

“We had three lifeguards that were in the parking lot of Terrace Park pool and heard some screaming from the lake, they all ran to the water’s edge, one of our lifeguards ran to the water, swam out and was able to rescue the individual that was in the water, brought him back to shore, went out a second time to try to find the individual was unsuccessful in that attempt,” director of parks and recreation, Don Kearney said.

Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation director Don Kearney says they spend time training their employees.

“Their training and their experience jumped into action, their instincts, they did an incredible job and responded to that particular situation, we train a lot with our life guards so that they’re prepared when these kinds of situations come up,” Kearney said.

“You never know when they’re going to have to put those skills into action, and to see young people like this, sprint over and save a life, it shows you the character of the people that work for the city, that are in this city, it makes me feel good to see that kind of response from people in Sioux Falls,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

Some quick thinking that saved a life.

“I think it’s tough because while we saved a life and that’s great, we also lost a life, and it’s sad when that happens, and there’s a family grieving right now but I think the takeaway for me was, this could have been twice the tragedy had it not been for that young person that saved a life,” TenHaken said.

Mayor TenHaken says the city has employee assistance programs to help deal with tough situations.

Kearney also reminds people of safety precautions such as wearing a life jacket and to make sure parents are supervising their children.

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