Popular beach attraction raises concerns - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Popular beach attraction raises concerns

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The sandbar in Milford has become a concern among visitors (WFSB) The sandbar in Milford has become a concern among visitors (WFSB)

A popular beach in Connecticut has a dangerous and potential deadly attraction.

Many visitors at Silver Sands State Park like to explore nearby Charles Island, but following the most recent drowning death, there are concerns over the sand bar that connects the two.

The sand bar is an attraction for people looking to walk on, but the 2,500-foot trek is potentially dangerous too.

Earlier this month, 28-year-old George Swaby of Bridgeport drowned after a current swept him off the sand.

Before that, the most recent death was six years ago when a Hamden man was walking with a child when they were swept away as the tide came in. A passing jet ski saved the 9-year-old boy.

"As a beach kid, we knew the tide, we knew the area, we knew when we could go out, when we couldn't. Now that it’s a state park, we have people coming from all over the northeast to visit our beautiful facility and they really don't understand or are not paying attention to the signs. They don't understand the dangers that are there,” said State Rep. Kim Rose (D-Milford).

There are signs up by the sand bar that alert people to the danger, but when you factor in the recent drowning and the number of emergency calls first responders get at the beach, some say clearly the signs are not enough.

She said it’s not just the tragic losses, but also the near misses.

She says since mid-June, Milford has had seven 9-1-1 calls for open water rescues.

That's why she asked for a meeting with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection along with Milford’s mayor and the fire and police chiefs to see if something can be done.

"Someone suggested closing the sandbar and the island off. That's kind of a tough thing to do. Increasing the signage to be a lot stronger actually...going out there could result in death. Maybe it should be in a couple different languages,” Rose said.

Someone had even mentioned maybe having a siren go off to alert people when the tide is coming in.

"We have several signs with strong language warning of these dangers that are very visible in that area. 

We believe this to be the most practical approach to addressing this situation, but we are certainly eager to listen to and consider other ideas that Rep. Rose and others may have,” DEEP said in a statement.

The meeting is set up for next week.

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