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Corps of Engineers steps up patrols after Oklahoma drownings

TULSA, Okla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to increase safety patrols on Oklahoma lakes following a string of recreational drownings.

Corps spokesman Matthew Nolen said officials plan to encourage the use of life jackets following the drowning deaths of 11 people in Oklahoma lakes since May.

Nolen said most drowning victims are not swimmers and fall into the water unexpectedly from a boat or dock. Officials said consistent life jacket use could reduce drownings by 90 percent.

Two drownings have been recorded at Lake Eufaula in northeastern Oklahoma during the past week, including a man who drowned Tuesday evening and a four-year-old boy who drowned Thursday morning.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said an 18-year-old man drowned on Friday in Frederick Lake in southwestern Oklahoma.