Dive teams pull woman's body from Trinity River in Fort Worth

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A woman drowned Wednesday afternoon in the Trinity River after workers in a nearby office building heard yelling and saw someone struggling in the water, said Tim Hardeman, a fire department spokesman.

The woman’s identity was unavailable Wednesday evening, but Hardeman said she was African-American.

Firefighters also did not know how she got into the water. The area was at a low-water dam near the 2500 block of Parkview Drive, which is on the east bank of the river. Trinity River Park is on the west bank.

“In the past several years, there have been drownings and rescues at this location from people crossing the chute that allows water through the dam,” Hardeman said. “But the circumstances leading to this person being in the water — we don’t know.”

Workers in an upper-level office building on Parkview Drive heard yelling at about 1 p.m. and then saw someone in the water, Hardeman said.

“They came down to the river after calling 911, but did not see anyone,” Hardeman said.

The fire department dive team searched for about 20 minutes before finding the woman about 2 p.m. in about 12 feet of water in the middle of the river. The spot was about 100 feet downstream from a low-water dam, Hardeman said.

The Tarrant County medical examiner would make positive identification and notify next of kin, Hardeman said.

Water temperature for that portion of the river was unavailable late Wednesday afternoon, but it was dangerously cold, considering the air temperature was 51 degrees at 2 p.m.

Chad Lorance, spokesman for the Tarrant Regional Water District, said his organization does not record water temperatures in the river, although it did record that Eagle Mountain Lake was 37 degrees at the surface — cold enough to cause deadly hypothermia.

The area gets pedestrian traffic from Trinity Park.

Lorance said signs warning of inherent water danger are posted on low-water dams, which are used by park visitors and anglers who like to fish from them.

There are about 15 such dams on the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Lorance said.

These structures aid flood control and also help catch silt that is later removed from the river, he explained. Chutes have cut into them to allow canoes and kayaks to pass over them.

Staff writer Domingo Ramirez Jr. contributed to this report.

Bill Miller., 817-390-7684

Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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