Posted on Aug 19, 2010

In the Red River of Louisiana, a community gathering ended in horror.  One-by-one, six teenagers fell into an eighteen foot sinkhole, each one of them trying to help the other. 

It was on a Monday evening August 2nd that a large group of family and friends gathered at Shreveport Beach on the Red River of Louisiana.  There were seven teenagers and several adults enjoying a shallow swimming area for some time before the incident occurred.

Eventually, a few of the teenagers began horsing around.  Regardless of whether it was accidental or intentional, a few of the teenagers ventured a little farther into the water, and upon doing so, they discovered the sinkhole.  Almost immediately, the ground gave in.  Some of the teens that were standing nearby tried to help, but none of them knew how to swim either.  Their courageous efforts led to their own demise, and each one of the seven teenagers began to drown as they fell farther into the sinkhole. 

None of the adults standing nearby knew how to swim, but one adult did call 9-1-1.  When emergency dispatchers received that call it was reported that only one teenager was drowning.  When emergency officials arrived, they were shocked to find seven teenagers drowning.  Their ages ranged from as young as thirteen to as old as eighteen.  Only one fourteen-year-old child was saved.

Missouri is a sinkhole hotspot, but a lot of Kansas City natives don’t know what a sinkhole is.  A sinkhole is an area of soft ground that hangs over an empty or unstable pocket of earth.  Over time, the soft ground can become dangerously unstable and will eventually collapse inwards.  They are not exclusive to river areas, and sinkholes can be found in a variety of geographic regions.  They can even be found in your own backyard.

 These dangerous patches of terrain are difficult to detect, and too often, unknowing individuals will walk across sinkholes and the weight of their bodies will cause the sinkhole to cave in. 

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.