Swimming at Your Own Risk

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JIM THORPE -- In Carbon County people were using a state park to cool off, but officials said the way they were doing it could cause injury or even death! At Lehigh Gorge State Park in Jim Thorpe we found people cooling off in safe ways. We also spotted people risking their lives jumping off cliff walls.

Josh Wright said he wasn't worried about being hurt. Wright explained he measured the depth. "Swam down until I could touch, I wouldn't recommend anyone doing that until they're sure of the conditions."

Some youngsters were using a rope to jump into the river. Others leaped off a bridge into the swirling water below. One of those people was Mike Caceras of Hazleton.

"It was a nice experience. You only live once why not! Try something crazy," said Caceras.

The habit of jumping off any of the bridges into the Lehigh River can be dangerous. According to park officials at least one youngster lost his life diving into the river.

Assistant park manager Jen Naugle said there have been other tragedies too.

"There have been several times over the years where people have jumped off the bridges and rock faces and they did not survive, they have had funerals in their memories," said Naugle.

Although park officials discourage that kind of activity, Naugle said there are no signs telling people not to do it.

"We have not posted things in the parks about what you cannot do we tend to focus on what they can do. If this becomes enough of an issue this policy could be revisited on a case by case basis," said Naugle.

Park officials remind people that there are ways to cool off without putting your life in danger.