CLEVELAND - Tuesday's drowning at Cleveland's Perkins Beach marks the eighth drowning in Lake Erie so far this year. Since 2010, the lake has taken the lives of more than 50 people.
That's according to the non-profit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, which teaches others about water safety.
“A lot of people think rip currents can only happen on the ocean, but they happen on the Great Lakes too and not just when it's rough,” said Petty Officer Christopher Yaw of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Yaw said rip currents on Lake Erie can be just as strong and dangerous as the ones in the ocean. Plus, the lakes' murky water and floating debris can make swimming even riskier.
Cleveland teen Gregory Adams fell victim to the Lake Erie waters Tuesday. Authorities said the boy drowned off Perkins Beach after he and a friend drifted out with a log too far and attempted to swim back. The friend made it to shore, but authorities found Adams' body in about 20 feet of water after they searched the area for an hour.
Swimming is prohibited at the beach and a large, white sign reminds visitors of the rule at the beach's entrance.
“Adhere to all posted beach signs,” Yaw said. “They're there to warn you of possible danger that may occur in the water.”
But dozens of people jumped in at Perkins Beach at Edgewater Park on Wednesday and NewsChannel5 asked them if they ever noticed the “No Swimming” sign.
“We didn't know that,” said Parma residents Becky Slimak and Megan Delaney. The teens said they swim there most every day in the summer and never noticed the sign.
Carmella Gibson and her daughter Mary Spencer said they didn't notice the sign either.
All of them were shocked to learn about the recent drowning.
“Oh no, that's terrible,” said Slimak and Delaney.
“We should move. We should go to the beach,” said Gibson and Spencer.
But instead, the mother and daughter got back in the water. The teens, however, packed up and headed to Edgewater Beach where swimming is allowed and lifeguards are on duty.
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