West St. Louis County, MO (KMOV) — Emergency crews ended a seven-hour search after divers pulled the bodies of two swimmers who drowned in the Meramec River Saturday afternoon, according to officials.
The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. at Castlewood State Park near Interstate 44.
Metro West Fire Chief Micheal Thiemann told News 4 that a group of five swimmers was swept underwater after shortly entering the river. Bystanders were able to rescue a man and two young girls, officials say.
Two of the five swimmers, 12-year-old Deniya Johnson and 35-year-old Rose Shaw, were unaccounted for. Rescue crews pulled the first body out of the water at 6:13 p.m. and located the last victim around 7:45 p.m. Both victims were from Florissant, Mo.
Officials say the bodies of Johnson and Shaw were found in 10 feet of water within a close distance from each other. Both women are not related, according to Thiemann. Johnson is a friend of Shaw’s daughter.
Although the park has several warning signs, Thiemann cautions swimmers of the potential danger.
“This is not your swimming pool at home, so the conditions in these situations can change dramatically and without any warning. when people are in these bodies of water, it is imperative to have on personal flotation devices at all times. period. for everyone that is there,” said Thiemann.