City leaders talk water safety after rise in river levels and rescues

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Corrales Fire Chief Anthony Martinez says they have been busy with six water rescues since last Friday. 

Over the weekend, one man died while ripping through the Taos Box. His body was recovered just south of Pilar on Saturday.

Now, officials are raising the alarm here in the metro.

“Even though this looks beautiful. It can be very dangerous,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

The Rio Grande is four times higher than it was at the same time last year.

“It’s about 4,600 cubic feet per second,” said Dennis Vasquez with the city’s Park and Recreation Department. 

“It’s typically been very shallow, so we’ve hit a lot of sandbars and stuff like that. But, this year it looks like the water, you know, pretty high,” said Octavio Zamarron. 

Scott Chalmers, the coordinator of boating safety and education programs for New Mexico state parks, said there were seven water deaths statewide in the last 12 months. Five of them were paddlers and two were on rivers.

The number one thing everyone needs on the water is a properly fitting life jacket. 

“You don’t want to drown in the river or anywhere else where there is water,” said Zamarron. 

Chalmers says wearing a life jacket is also the law. The Corrales fire chief also says they are putting up signs near the river. 

For more information on boating safety, click here.