SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Tuesday morning Shreveport authorities released the names of the six teens who died Monday evening after drowning in the Red River.
The teens have been identified as 13-year-old Takeitha Warner, 14-year-old Jamarcus Warner, 17-year-old LeTavious Warner, 17-year-old Ladarious Stewart, 18-year-old Latrell Stewart, and 15-year-old Latevin Stewart.
The four older teens were students at Woodlawn High School. The two younger teens attended M.J. Moore Middle School.
"I certainly hope I never see anything like this again in my career," said Shreveport Fire Chief Brian Crawford.
Crawford's thoughts were echoed by Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover.
"I will never forget August 2nd, 2010, as long as I live," he said.
The first call to firefighters came just after 6:30 Monday evening, but reportedly rescue crews were first told the drowning was along the Jimmie Davis Bridge. It was minutes later before they learned the drowning's were actually up the river near the Hamel's Memorial Park.
Once there, rescue crews had to hike about 300 yards to the site where the accident happened.
Several fire fighters and a Shreveport Police Officer went into the water, but rescuers quickly realized they could not reach the teens because of the depth of the water.
Divers from both the Shreveport Fire Department and Bossier City Fire Department went into the river to recover the bodies. The first teen was found just before 8 p.m. The last body was pulled from the water a couple of minutes after 10 p.m.
Crawford said all the bodies were found in about 25 feet of water and were within 20 feet of each other.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick said the six were with a large group of family members and friends including two adults for an afternoon of swimming and barbecuing. The group had reportedly only been at the river about 10 minutes before tragedy struck.
She said at some point all six teens and a 15-year-old male cousin of the Warner's reportedly waded out several feet into the water and as they were reportedly wading back to the sand bar, the 15-year-old stepped off a ledge or drop-off that could not be seen in the murky water.
Caddo Parish Sheriff's deputies say that the 15-year-old screamed for help and the other children reportedly went to help, but none could swim.
A group of swimmers nearby reportedly heard the teen's screams and also tried to help, only the 15-year-old who originally stepped off the drop-off could be saved.
One of the adults was able to throw a life-vest to that teen.
"They were out here with some adults. But unfortunately, neither the children nor the adults could swim," said Shreveport Assistant Fire Chief Fred Sanders.
The area where the drowning happened is a popular recreational area along the river. There are several sandbars near the shore that people use for picnics and fishing. Deputies say that there are no lifeguards on duty.
The investigation into this drowning is being done by the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
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