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As I reported the other day, a 9-year-old-girl fell in the Provo River near Bridal Veil Falls on Monday and was swept downstream away from the helping hands of nearby family members. She was found down-river near Nunn’s Park submerged against a rock, and it is believed that she was in the cold water for upward of 40 minutes before she was rescued. Unfortunately, doctors at Primary Children’s Medical Center were unable to revive her and she passed away yesterday. She has been identified as Caitlin Buchkowski of Aurora, Colorado.

Now, area residents are questioning the safety, or lack thereof, in the area where the girl fell into the river – at that spot there is a steep drop-off into cold water which can inhibit one’s ability to recover and self-rescue. Some are calling for barriers or other safety devices to protect those who visit the popular recreation area. The land along the river stretch in question is owned by Utah County but when asked about safety issues, County Parks director Jim McMullin flatly refused to answer any questions. Instead, he referred all questions on the subject to the public relations office of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has assembled a list of water safety tips for children, but I think there are lessons here for everyone:

Teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water. Knowledge is a powerful tool for combating water tragedies. Knowing how and where children drown, as well as the concrete steps you can take to avoid danger, may make a life-and-death difference for your family. To keep your family safe, remember these tips:
• All caregivers should learn CPR.
• Never leave a toy in or around a pool.
• Make sure there is a telephone by the pool in case of an emergency.
• If you use an inflatable or plastic pool, make sure you dump the water out of the pool after each use and turn the pool upside down when finished with it.
• Install a fence at least four-foot high around all four sides of the pool. Pool covers are not a substitute for 4-sided fencing.
• Never leave children alone in or near water, even for a moment. An adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
• Make sure pool gates self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
• Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd’s hook – a long pole with a hook on the end – and life preserver).
• Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.
• Teach children to swim when they’re ready, usually after age 4.
• Use a barrier like a fence to keep children away from pools or other bodies of water.
• Empty and turn over all water containers after you use them.
• Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around water.
• Teach children never to swim alone.
• If your child is found floating in water start Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
• If your child is missing check surrounding bodies of water immediately.

And again, please remember that all water dangers are increased as water temperatures decrease because of the risk of hypothermia.


  1. Gravatar for anita magriplis

    First thank you to those caring friends who assisted in the recovery of Caitlin Buchkowski July 20, 2009. Those brave people who also assisted in my rescue. You have such a beautiful play place at Bridal Veil Falls. Caitlin was having such a great time i think she thought she was invincible climbing the falls. She was not unattended on the shore of the river, her 20 yr old cousin was standing right next to her. ONE slip with her wet swimshoes she went tumbling. Her cousin tried to reach her but the minute she went into that 440 knots per second water she was swept down river . That is 75 miles per hour. I had her but the water so fast and so cold. I am sorry to say i could not save her! NOW TO MY POINT THE RIVER IS SO CLOSE TO A man made play ground. WHY WOULD YOU NOT PUT A BARRIER OR A FENCE???? I understand its not the first death there! My sister in law went back to find some articles we had left behind. Aag young girl was on the bike path got off he bike left it on THE BIKE PATH and some other bike riders came through and bumped her bike. It tumbled into the river!!!!! Somthing has to BE DONE. We will help pay to get some kind of gaurd in place so This will never happen to another living soul,camera, bike or any thing YOU LOVE! Caitlin would want this to be a positive. She was such a sweet and positive little girl. She had ideas all the time for many things. She was such a ray of sunshine. Help US PLEASE

  2. Gravatar for Facebook User

    my friends and family,

    I continue to be so so sad over the loss of Marilyns sweet Caitlin. I can't even express the sorrow i feel. I would like to thank everyone of you who supported, loved with us and understand this great PAIN we are all going through. This is such a confusing time to loose a life so precious. I DO know in my heart we did do ALL we could at the moment with NO time to think u just react the best To your own capability. I love u all for that and do relize my life will never be the same. She made me a better person lust by knowing her and i will cherish that and try to stay positive if not JUST FOR HER. Just always remember how EVERYONE LOVED HER SOOOOO MUCH>XXXOOO

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