Authorities have identified a Rapides Parish resident as the person who drowned in the Amite River this weekend.
Fifty-two-year-old Elson Johnson, Jr., of Deville, went underwater shortly after launching from Tiki Tubing around 11 a.m. Saturday. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
In a statement, Ard said deputies were dispatched to Hancock Lane in reference to a medical call/patient unresponsive. Detectives learned from witnesses that the male, Johnson, “was off the tube & got into waist deep water” before he slipped and never resurfaced.
“He slipped down and struggled to come back to the surface,” Ard said. “LPSO & our First Responder partners responded. All attempts to revive him failed.”
The exact cause of death will be pending the results of an autopsy, Ard said.
This marks the third incident within the last six weeks, with two of those being fatal.
Last weekend, first responders rescued 15 people after “strong currents” stranded tubers along the Amite River. On Father’s Day weekend, Keith Hilliard, a Baton Rouge man and father of LSU pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard, drowned while tubing.
Central Mayor David Barrow took to Facebook shortly after news of the most recent drowning broke and urged people against entering the turbulent waters of the Amite River.
“Another drowning related to Tiki Tubing today on the Livingston Parish side of the Amite River,” he said. “This makes 2 deaths within the last month and numerous rescues. Central Fire Dept responded with a boat, putting their safety at risk. Livingston Parish officials said this week there is nothing they can do about the business.
“I urge all of our Central residents to stay out of the Amite River and avoid tubing. It is dangerous.”