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Alcohol a factor in all seven deaths at Lake of the Ozarks this year

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Seven people have died so far this year on the Lake of the Ozarks, and alcohol was involved in every single death, according to the Missouri Water Patrol.

Six of the fatalities were swimmers who reportedly had been drinking; the seventh was the result of a boating accident.

Lt. Nick Humphrey of the Missouri Water Patrol says it's unfortunate that people automatically equate going to the lake with drinking:

"If you do choose to drink, it's imperative that you wear a life jacket," Humphrey said, in an interview. "And if you're gonna be around other people that are drinking alcohol around the water, convince them that they need to wear a life jacket. You could save a life."

If the current rate of fatalities continues, 2007 could set new records. Humphrey says 1999 was the deadliest year on the Lake of the Ozarks over the past decade, when 10 people died in boating accidents and 7 others drowned.

"There's no law against swimming and consuming alcohol," Humphrey added. "So it's just a matter of trying to get the word out there to let them know how dangerous swimming and drinking can be."

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