Teen boy pulled from “relatively shallow” river, didn’t know how to swim: Fire officials

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The body of a 13-year-old boy was pulled from a river on the city's far northeast side early Friday afternoon.

Officials aren't releasing the name of the boy at this time. He was reportedly playing along the Deep Fork River riverbed late Friday morning with another 13-year-old boy when one of their shoes fell in.

"It sounds like, doing what boys do, going down and having some fun at a creek," said Oklahoma City Fire Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson. "Unfortunately, when you’re unable to swim, sometimes something like this, sadly, can happen."

For several hours, fire department divers fought poor visibility in the murky, muddy red waters of the portion of the river near Route 66 and Choctaw Rd. near Arcadia. Fire officials say they received a 911 call shortly before noon, after the other boy ran for help. The boy's body was found shortly before 2 p.m.

"This was a recovery effort, obviously the child did not survive the incident, the parents are on the scene now and our firefighters are talking to them right now and letting them know what transpired, and trying to bring them some type of peace in this really tragic situation," said Fulkerson.

Fulkerson said the water in this section of the river is relatively shallow, with rescuers able to walk across in some portions. He also said the current of the river was fairly slow, even considering the amount of rain the area received over the previous several days.

The incident, evident of the dangers any type of body of water can pose, especially as summer weather creeps closer.

"People can slip under the water, silently," said Kasey Handley, the aquatics director with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. "A lot of people think that if someone's having trouble in the water, it's going to be loud and very noticeable. And it is frequently not."

"Never swim alone. Even proficient swimmers, to never swim alone," added Handley. "Especially because you never know what’s going to happen in (open water)."

"We sure hate it for this family and for all the friends of the child, and our hearts go out to them and we hope that they can recover from this soon," said Fulkerson.

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