Shoals EMA leader: Wear a life jacket if you're on the river - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Shoals EMA leader: Wear a life jacket if you're on the river

Any body of water can appear safe, but a life jacket keeps you prepared for any incident. (Source: WAFF) Any body of water can appear safe, but a life jacket keeps you prepared for any incident. (Source: WAFF)
COLBERT COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A Shoals EMA director is stressing the importance of wearing a life jacket after crews pulled a 59-year-old unresponsive woman from the Tennessee River over the weekend.
 
The Colbert County coroner identified the woman as Marie Franklin of Tuscumbia. Authorities said she fell out of a boat after the Shoals Spirit of Freedom firework show on Saturday night. She did not have a life jacket on.
 
According to Lauderdale County EMA director George Grabryan, the water might look calm, but it is very deceiving, and that's why he's asking anyone who goes out on the Tennessee River to have a life jacket on.
 
Grabryan said Franklin’s death over the weekend might have been prevented if she had some kind of floatation device. Emergency crews found her body floating near the mouth of Cypress Creek.

We spent several hours on the water on Monday and saw several boaters without any kind of life jacket in sight. Grabryan made note of it, too, when we met him on the banks of the river.

He said the boaters are asking for trouble by neglecting life jackets, and believes despite this weekend's death many boaters are still going to continue to risk it.
 
"You never know what's going to happen. We've had boaterss that have gotten struck and have had life jackets on that have survived," said Grabryan. "We've had boats that have capsized and [people with life jackets] on that survived. It is a good thing because that flotation device will keep you up and will save your life."
 
Grabryan said the weekend incident was the first time they’ve had such a fatality like that on the water at the Shoals fireworks event.

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