Siloam Springs Officials Address Safety At Park Where Teen Drowned

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The City of Siloam Springs is partnering with several organizations to emphasize safety at the Whitewater Recreation Park where a teenager drowned last month.

The body of Evan Thomas, 16, was pulled from the Illinois River about 200 yards downstream from the park June 17 after Benton County dive teams and emergency crews were called to the area.

Immediately after the drowning, Siloam Springs officials stressed the importance of life jackets and proper safety measures at the park often used by kayakers. The city’s most recent announcement states local safety officials and organizations will join together to “ensure that precautions are being taken, including the use of personal floatation devices, adherence to park rules, utilizing the buddy system and more,” according to a statement from Siloam Springs Public Safety Director Greg Neely.

Neely said the purpose of the initiatives is to create a culture of safety at the park. He said he hopes people take advantage of the park’s amenities while, at the same time, staying safe.

The park, which has been open since January, was scheduled to hold a grand opening June 28. That grand opening celebration was cancelled after Thomas’ drowning.

Evan Thomas

Evan Thomas

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