For the fourth time in four days, Murfreesboro rescue crews were called Wednesday afternoon to help a swimmer in distress at the Stones River.
Officials have warned the public of the dangers the river poses after receiving several days of persistent rain, but swimmers have still been entering the river at the Manson Pike Dam near Searcy Street and then either strike a submerged object or are overcome by the swift-moving water.
The Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department said the 19-year-old swimmer injured Wednesday was with two other friends when he fell and hit his head in the water.
When crews arrived, the victim was already out of the water. He was transported to Middle Tennessee Medical Center for treatment.
Man dies Tuesday evening
Nineteen-year-old James Patton died after swimming in nearly the same location Tuesday evening.
Emergency Management Director Randy White said Patton was diving in the river when he had some sort of medical problem underwater.
Patton was transported to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of his death is under investigation, but police believe he may have struck a submerged object after jumping into the river.
At least one Murfreesboro firefighter and one Murfreesboro police officer were injured during the effort to reach Patton, officials said.
White said diving in that area is especially dangerous due to hazards beneath the surface.
Boy rescued from dam Monday
Monday, the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department was called just after 6 p.m. to nearly the same location after a juvenile who had been swimming became trapped in rushing water, according to a department spokeswoman.
When crews arrived, the boy was standing to the side of the dam, so crew members waded into the water and tossed a personal flotation device to guide him safely to the side of the river.
Teens clinging to tree rescued Sunday
The Monday evening rescue came about 24 hours after a daring effort to save two other teens' lives when they got in over their heads in the fast-moving water.
"The hydraulics in the water create a void which kind of sucks you back in. It's one of the most dangerous elements we can have in a swift-water rescue. And these boys were swimming right there at it," said Matt Young, with the Murfreesboro Fire Department.
Danny Derryberry, 16, and Dakota Franz, 14, became caught in the current of Stones River about 4 p.m. Sunday.
As they clung to a tree, rescuers quickly developed a plan to board a raft and rescue the stranded teens.
The careful maneuver took about half an hour as rescuers delivered the boys helmets and flotation devices before plucking them from the trees and helping them to shore.
"And one of our firefighters actually was leaning on the boat and held out over the trees and the guys actually stepped on his back to climb into the raft," Young said.
Officials stress the danger of trying to swim after several days of persistent rain.
"You need to be aware of the river level. If the river's at flood stage or near flood stage, you don't need to be in the water," Young said.
A similar water rescue happened at a different dam in the city about a month ago.
There are six of those dams in the city and more through the county. The city is planning a public awareness campaign to try to remind people to play it safe near these waters.
"It is important to use proper judgment when water levels are high. Rising waters are very dangerous and not favorable for swimming or other recreational activities. The three victims from this week's water rescues have been very fortunate. Outcomes could have been much worse," said Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Cmdr. Daryl Alexander.
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