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Drowning Accident Rescue Team Takes Proactive Approach to Save Lives

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SACRAMENTO --

Drowning Accident Rescue Team volunteers took the initiative this week and stationed crews at Discovery Park to encourage swimmers to use life jackets.

Just two weeks ago, the body of a 23-year-old man was found after he drowned not far from Tiscornia Beach. He was the fourth drowning victim in the same area in just a matter of weeks, the sixth in Sacramento.

"People overestimate their ability to swim, and they underestimate the river. The river will never get tired and you will," said DART Vice President Leslie Robinson.

DART usually gets to the beach after a drowning has already occurred. This weekend, volunteers like Robinson took a more proactive role.

Robinson says too often this year, she's been on duty looking for drowned bodies, while victims family and friends watch helplessly from the shore.

"That's the hardest part for me, is the family and every one of those drownings could've been prevented by wearing a life jacket,” Robinson said.

That was the goal Sunday at the beach -- to get everyone, child or adult, into a life jacket.

"I approach people and tell them that their children are the future governors and presidents and doctors and lawyers, we've got to protect them. So I got to do it, I've got life jackets and I just pass them out," said DART volunteer Penny Carroll.

Beach goers say the county's effort to push life jackets is working.

Henry Townsend, a regular beach goer, said he noticed a major difference in the amount of people heeding the life jacket warnings.

"Even adults my age, it's best to have one, you know, I have one, it's something that is needed out here for the amount of people that come out here,” Townsend said.

Dart volunteers won’t be at the beach every week, but hope their presence Sunday encouraged safety, and prevented the possibility for another body search.