Three people died on Missouri waterways over the Memorial Day weekend.
Sergeant Jerry Callahan with the Missouri State Water Patrol says Sridhar Tekula, 27, and Suresh Merumu, 30, of St. Louis drowned while swimming on the Meremac in Franklin County. Four-year-old Margaret Murphy of Wildwood drowned when the canoe she was in capsized and jammed under logs, pinning her underneath.
Callahan says the Water Patrol also responded to 13 boating accidents throughout the state … eight injuries were reported.
Last year’s holiday weekend there were also 13 boating accidents resulting in four injuries. One person drowned.
The Water Patrol begins its counting period at midnight Friday and ends it at 5 p.m. Monday.
Callahan says all of the fatalities occurred on the Meremac. He says swift currents played a part, but that the waters were not abnormally rough.
The two men were not wearing life jackets. The 4-year-old girl from Wildwood was wearing a life jacket, but because she was pinned underwater, it did not save her life.
Margaret Murphy was with four other children and an adult in the canoe.
When the canoe tipped, the patrol says, the adult – 43-year-old Kimberly Kocur of Millstone, N.J. – was able to grab two of the kids and swim to shore. Two of the other children were assisted to shore by other adults on the scene, the patrol says. That’s when Margaret’s father, Patrick Murphy, pulled her from about 6 feet of water.
She was taken to Missouri Baptist Hospital, the patrol says, where she was pronounced dead.
Callahan says the patrol handed out 23 citations for boating under the influence, the majority of them on the Lake of the Ozarks, he says, because that’s where the biggest concentration of boaters gather in the state.