PLR 22-077 – Off-Duty Sports, Recreation and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life
A Specialist assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, died in an off-duty water-related mishap 10 September 2022 near the Red River in Clarksville, Tennessee, at 1530 local. The Soldier fell into the water while walking along the Red River bank with a group of Soldiers. A second Soldier jumped into the river to rescue the first Soldier but was unsuccessful. Local law enforcement recovered the Soldier’s body the next day and pronounced him dead. The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and local law enforcement.
Since FY17, the Army has lost an average of eight Soldiers a year to off-duty water-related mishaps. This was the fifth fatal off-duty water-related mishap of FY22 and above the number of off-duty water-related fatalities from this time last year.
Safety Tips for Hiking/Walking Near Water:
-Take your time and watch your step. Be careful and watch where you are walking, especially on slippery areas or near cliffs. Stick to dry paths and solid rock areas with good footing.
-Wear appropriate clothes and shoes. Wearing flip-flops or other footwear not appropriate for steep, rocky or loose terrain increases the chance of falling into bodies of water.
-Stay away from rapid waters and slippery slopes. Be careful and cautious when hiking near water, including waterfalls and swift or cold water. Climbing on rocks near waterfalls is extremely dangerous and can lead to a fatal fall or drowning. Do not attempt to cross streams during icy conditions, flooding, moving or white water, or any time you cannot be certain of the water depth. If you plan to cross any rivers, plan and prepare to do so safely.
-Don’t get too distracted taking photos, videos or just looking at the water. Watch your step. There will often be uneven ground, holes, bumps on rocks and stumps near the water’s edge. Tripping can cause a fall as easily as slipping.
-Be aware of the people around you, especially if there is a crowd. Other folks may not be paying attention and can accidentally push or shove their way for a better view, all the while being oblivious to your position and safety. And certainly, don't be that person oblivious to those around them.