A tragedy is unfolding in south St. Louis County this morning as the State Water Patrol reports five youth have drowned in the Meramec River. Water Patrol Sergeant Ralph Bledsoe says details are sketchy at this time, but it appears six young people, ages 9 to 15, began wading in the Meramec at Castlewood State Park last night. They apparently were wading in shallow water, came upon a drop-off in the river bed and were swept away by an undercurrent. Water Patrol divers took three victims out of the water last night; two were still alive. Both were sent to a nearby hospital, where one died. The other clings to life. Divers recovered three bodies this morning, the fifth fatality pulled from the water around daybreak. The names of the victims have not been released.
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