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Swimming Is Banned At Reservoirs

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Obey the law or you could lose your life. That’s the warning from police who are cracking down on people illegally swimming in local reservoirs.

Kelly McPherson explains a number of people did, in fact, die last summer.

You can boat with a permit. But you can’t swim, and it’s a message that rangers are trying to spread in order to save lives.

It’s illegal to swim in any of the three city-owned reservoirs. But every time the temperature goes up, people ignore the law.

“I come up here every summer, my brother and me,” said one person.

“I would hope that something like the tragedies we experienced last summer would give people a reason not to,” said Ranger Luke Brackett.  

Search teams pulled out three people from Loch Raven and Liberty reservoirs over a short span of six weeks. They all drowned.

“All three victims were in excellent physical condition,” Brackett said. 

The more challenging environment of this water proved to be too much for them. It’s cold water that’s 90 feet deep in parts.  Beneath the surface are cliffs, valleys and old towns.

“We’ve been busy already,” Brackett said.

Just last week, rangers handed out 37 to people who were trespassing or going into the water.

We’re concealing the identity of this group of teenagers who admit to jumping in for the thrill and to cool off.

“We were jumping off the cliffs,” said one of the teenagers.

“When you get to the high one it gets a little scary,” said another teen.

“I just like the freefall; all of the pressure comes off of your shoulders,” said another.

The teens say they’ve never been caught.

“I’ve been lucky,” said one of them.

Others were not so lucky.  That’s three more citations and summer hasn’t officially begun yet.

If caught, a citation can mean up to $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. The reservoirs provide drinking water for Baltimore City and several surrounding counties.

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