Five Mile Dam safety regulations are being questioned following recent drowning


Sierra Martin

Locals and tourist swim in Five Mile Dam on July 25, 2019.

Sierra Martin, News Reporter

New safety regulations at the Five Mile Dam are being considered following the drowning of 15-year-old Wyatt Kunze at Dudley Johnson Park.

Kunze was reportedly swimming with his sister to a large rock in the middle of the Blanco River around 2 p.m., June 25, when he started struggling to stay above water and was yelling for help. His sister was unable to make it to him on time and thinks he panicked when he realized he could not touch the bottom of the river.

After he disappeared under the surface of the water, the park was closed for the day and his body was recovered about 30 minutes following his drowning.

According to Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler, there have been ten drownings along the Five Mile Dam since 2003, seven of which have been fatal.

“Know your swimming capabilities when you go swimming (is extremely important),” Cutler said. “If you’re not a good swimmer, you should never swim alone.”

According to Cutler, weather was not a factor in the teen’s drowning, and the river was flowing at a normal rate for this time of year.

Currently, there are signs posted throughout the Five Mile Dam warning park-goers to “swim at your own risk,” since there is no lifeguard on duty. Some parts of the Blanco River in the area can be up to 20 feet deep with steep drop-offs.

Claire Robinson, exercise and sports science senior, goes to the Five Mile Dam regularly and is familiar with the park rules and current water level. She thinks it is the parent’s responsibility to watch over their minors and know their swimming capabilities before allowing them to swim.

“I think all the current regulations in place are sufficient for the Five Mile Dam and the safety of the patrons,” Robinson said. “Unfortunately, the recent drowning was just a freak accident.”

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra is looking for safety solutions for the Five Mile Dam in order to cut back on the drowning risk.

“We are meeting with all department heads involved in that space so we can make assessments and do everything we can to be as proactive as possible,” Becerra said.

Becerra neglected to respond to our request for more information concerning what safety regulations they are considering enforcing at the Five Mile Dam.

The Kunze family is asking for donations via gofundme to help cover funeral expenses.

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