A man wearing a life jacket, with another life...

Life jackets save lives. Two recent drownings are a stark reminder.

Two people drowned over the weekend, and at least one of the two – a 16-year-old girl – was not wearing a life jacket.

It’s possible both were not wearing life jackets, authorities said.

One of the drownings was on the Susquehanna River in Sayre, the other on a pond in Yates County.

These two tragedies might have been avoided if they had worn life jackets.

“I’ve never read about or heard about emergency personnel pulling a body out of water that had a life preserver on,” Jim Pfiffer, the director of the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed, told WENY-TV.

On Saturday, Michael S. Smith, 47, and his friend Kenneth Foss were on the Susquehanna River just south of the Sayre boat launch when their boat capsized, investigators told the Star-Gazette.

Foss returned safely to shore but Smith was trapped between the boat and a tree limb and drowned. His death was ruled accidental. Authorities did not know whether the two men were wearing life jackets.

Early Sunday, 16-year-old Susan Hoover of Penn Yan drowned when she and four others were thrown into a town of Benton pond when their five-person paddle boat took on water and tipped over. There were no life jackets aboard the boat, authorities told the Star-Gazette.

Her body was found in 19 feet of water hours later, investigators said.

Because of the circumstances of Smith’s death, it’s impossible to know whether a life jacket would’ve saved him.

But both victims would’ve had far better chances to survive with life jackets.

Never go out on the water without a life jacket at hand, and if you are in a boat on moving water you should always be wearing a life jacket!

To see the WETM-TV report, click here.

For an area with so much water for recreational use, it is a shame that accidents like this occur year after year. Click here to see our warning from last year about the danger of swimming in the rivers.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe this summer!

ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: info@zifflaw.com