Six teenagers drowned in the Red River in northwest Louisiana yesterday when they stepped off a ledge from shallow water into a chasm about 20 feet deep. The victims, ages 13 to 18, included three brothers in one family and a sister and two brothers in another. "They were out here with some adults. But unfortunately, neither the children nor the adults could swim," a local fireman said. A seventh teen, a 14-year-old, was rescued.
A large group of family and friends, including roughly 20 children, were out at a sandbar that's a popular spot for barbecues, wading and fishing. They had been there before and were familiar with the water, said a friend of the family who watched helplessly as the teenagers drowned. "None of us could swim," she said. "They were yelling 'help me, help me. Somebody please help me.' It was nothing I could do but watch them drown one by one." Officials said they didn't know whether one teen fell and pulled down others, or if they were trying to rescue each other.