‘Drowning, Hazard’ signs could soon mark area near girl’s drowning

Posted at 8:16 PM, May 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-29 20:16:34-04

LOUISA, Va. (WTVR)--John Jones never misses a chance to fish at his favorite spot.

"You might be seeing a catfish in about a minute. I just missed one," says Jones.

But you'll never see this Louisa native taking a dip here. John is describing the waters at Dike 3 on Lake Anna in Louisa County, where a six-year-old drowned on Memorial Day while fishing with her grandfather.

"It will wash you up under the bridge if you're not careful. I've had a couple of close calls myself."

Jones fishes near the spot where water flows from the private side of the lake to the public, after cooling Dominion Virginia Powers Lake Anna nuclear power plant. Millions of gallons of water flow through the Dike 3 every hour.

Major Donnie Lowe with the Louisa County Sheriff's Department says the strong currents under the surface can be treacherous.

"Deadly. That is all can say," says Lowe. "You are going to drown. It is as simple as that."

A bystander jumped into the water on Monday, but couldn't pull the girl out. Two men attempted to rescue the child, but became fatigued. Her body was discovered a couple of hours later.

Major Lowe says, "It will suck you towards that bridge. You will swirl around. And it will suck you right under."

The dangers are hidden but real here at Dike 3. On one side of the abutment the water is ankle deep, but just a few feet away it drops to about 35 feet. Add the  potentially deadly currents to the mix and it quickly becomes a dangerous scenario.

Rebecca Hicks fishes these waters often.

"It is scary. I don't want to die. I'd like to see signs that say 'Dangerous Waters.'"

Rebecca Hicks might get her wish. Louisa County Sheriff's Department, Dominion Virginia Power and Game and Inland Fisheries are working increase the number of warnings in the area to avoid another tragedy.

"We talked about changing the signs, instead of “No Jumping” or “No Swimming” just put “Danger. Drowning Hazard.”

“You always treat water with respect," says Major Lowe.

Jones said his heart hurts knowing a little girl lost her life at this seemingly peaceful spot.  It is just another reminder for this fisherman to stay out of the water.

Jones says, "You can look at it and see how strong it is."