Fire department sounds alarm about dangerous rope swing on Canadian River

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two different women have been injured falling from a rope swing along the North Canadian River in the last month.

And now fire department officials are warning people about the dangers.

The rope hangs high from a tree near the Hiwassee bridge over the river between 122nd and Memorial.

Both women were injured after they fell from the rope before getting over the water.

They fell to the rocks below.

The first woman was injured in late June and her injuries were not too severe. But this past Sunday, a different rope swinger was left with significant injuries.

“Broken ribs, broken pelvis, and maybe her right arm or right shoulder,” said Lt. Brennen McKellar with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.  “They just said that she had crawled up a little higher than the others and this was her first time out here and she didn’t make it out to the water, she just kind of slipped off the rope and fell down to the rocks.”

Firefighters say this is a tricky area. The only way to reach someone who’s hurt is to get a boat and do a water rescue.

“So that obviously complicates things when we have to bring a boat out here from another fire station which is closer into town.  So that takes a lot more time, which is valuable time, in many cases, when somebody is laying on a rock and needing medical attention,” said Chief Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Cade Stanger and his friends love the thrill of the rope swing.

“We come out here, we jump off the bridge.  We swim around, we go off the rope swing,” said Stanger.

Even a warning from police hasn’t deterred them.

“Police came down here telling us it’s not safe to swing off the rope swing because someone went to the hospital earlier,” said Stanger.

But not everyone who hangs out along this stretch of the river is on board with the risk taking.

“Oh no, it’s too dangerous.  I’ve got a family to feed,” said Lonnie Hillman.

Firefighters are hoping more people will use that healthy dose of caution before making a possibly life altering decision.

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