Drowning rates stay level in mid-Missouri, increase statewide

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - As the number of drownings increased statewide, mid-Missouri's numbers have stayed level.

In mid-Missouri, four people have drowned this year, including one this month. There were five drowning incidents last year, six in 2013 and seven in 2012, according to the  Missouri State Highway Patrol's website.

In all of Missouri, 26 people have drowned so far this year, four just this month, according to MSHP.

In 2014, 28 people drowned in Missouri, seven in the month of July.

MSHP Capt. John Hotz said flooding is a contributing factor to the number of drownings. 

Hotz said driving through water can cause people to be swept off the roadway.

"If you see barracades or standing water, don't drive through it," he said.

Recent heavy rains have raised dangers for boaters, he said, because it's easy to capsize a vessel, and once that happens, people can be swept away.

Hotz said people should avoid swift moving currents. He said places with excess water also contain debris and other obstacles.

"Everyone in a boat should have life jackets on," Hotz said.