2 drownings reported within 24 hours at Magnolia Gardens Park on San Jacinto River, authorities say

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Two families are grieving the loss of loved ones after a deadly weekend of drownings at Magnolia Gardens Park on the San Jacinto River.

On Saturday, a 13-year-old went missing while at the park with his family. His body was recovered along the river bank the next morning.

On Sunday, a man in his 30s swam across a part of the river but went under while swimming back. He didn’t resurface. A witness told KPRC 2 he was waving his arms in distress before it happened.

“That’s one of the dangers in this, in the San Jacinto River, is you can’t see what’s in the water,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Lt. David Jasper. “You have currents to deal with. You might be in three or four feet of water and then step off into a hole that’s six feet deep.”

Dive teams recovered his body just before 7 p.m.

According to the American Red Cross, swimming in rivers is more challenging than a home pool. Swimmers should be aware of fast currents, even in shallow water. Swim sober and with a buddy, and always wear a lifejacket.

“Not a year that goes by that during the summer and we go to drownings, they have signs. Swim at your own risk as you can see families in the water,” HCSO Sgt. James Garza said. “I don’t care how good a swimmer you are, water isn’t forgiving.”

Jasper said usually, people aren’t wearing lifejackets, which could make a life or death difference.

About the Author:

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.