Double drowning in Wilcox County

Reported by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email
Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email

CAMDEN, AL (WSFA) - A group of teenagers were swimming in the Alabama River in Camden When they realized two of their friends were missing.

When authorities arrived they immediately began a search with little thought of a rescue.

"It was just shocking for me."

It was a normal day for Sally Gladney when suddenly she heard one of her best friend's sons had drowned.

"I was on my school bus when I got the news that there had been a drowning," said Gladney.

Wilcox County Sheriff's Deputies tell WSFA 12 News that a group of high school students were swimming at Bridgeport Park in Camden.

Two of the boys disappeared below the water.

"They were swimming a little bit past the buoys and they came back several times, but this time they went out they didn't come back," stated Wilcox County Sheriff's Deputy Earnest Evans.

Rescue crews began searching for the teens shortly after 3 o'clock.

Over the course of nearly six hours, both bodies were recovered.

"I just went blank."

Tyrel Thompson's classmate was one of the victims.

"I couldn't believe it. I mean, why him...why did it happen to him?," asked Thompson.

Thompson says the tragedy hits home.

He believes it could have just as easily been him.

The news was a devastating blow for so many friends and family members who watched the rescue teams at work.

For Thompson and Gladney, the most difficult days are still ahead.

"I'm just praying and staying strong in the Lord, and going to continue to talk with the family and tell them to stay with the Lord," Gladney remarked.

"Be there for each other so we can not think about it," added Thompson.

Sheriff's deputies believe the deeper water levels outside the safe swimming area may be to blame for the drownings.

They say drownings aren't common at Bridgeport Park but they have happened there in the past.

Officials believe the teens were about 15 years old.

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