HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) – There is a section of the San Jacinto River in northeast Harris County that is notorious for its many fatal drownings. It is a section from Lake Houston Dam to Highway 90 that is traditionally referred to as Banana Bend.

A lieutenant with the Harris County Sheriff's Office told ABC13 that the department responds to more drownings in that area than anywhere else in the region.

Lt. David Jasper said there have been three drowning deaths this year, including a 14-year-old girl and her 38-year-old father who drowned on Father's Day.

“She slipped and fell into the water,” Jasper said. “He went in to save her and they both ended up drowning.”

Jasper added that there were six drowning accidents in this stretch of river in 2023. Among them was a 53-year-old man who attempted to swim from the river to the shore.

A young brother and sister also drowned in 2023 while their father was packing their car.

“I think what makes it dangerous is the amount of people, their swimming skills, their alcohol consumption and the fact that there are no lifeguards on duty,” Jasper explained.

Jasper also explained that because of the murky color of the water, people don't know how deep it actually is.

Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darrell Bailey added that the river's current also poses a major danger.

“It’s something you can’t explain,” he said of the current.

The department's advice on safety starts with wearing a life jacket.

“We haven’t rescued anyone wearing a life jacket yet,” Jasper said.

Jasper and Bailey also advise not to go into the water alone, to be careful about alcohol consumption and to be aware that the depth of the river can change quickly.

Jasper estimates that 90% of drowning accidents could be prevented by following such common sense practices.

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