Little Rock Police have identified 38-year-old Taj Williams as the man who drowned at Murray Park on Sunday night. Friends told officers Williams just had two large glasses of beer at a restaurant. before he and some friends went to the park to sit on the dock.
Officers say Williams told the friends he wanted to walk into the water. Some men playing frisbee in the park nearby heard Williams's friends screaming after he went in. They pulled Williams from the water and began performing CPR. Williams was taken to the hospital, but never recovered.
Officials say the warm temperature of the water may have actually sped up Williams' death. He was underwater for approximately six minutes. In icy water, some victims have been known to recover after 30-40 minutes underwater.
Cold water contributes to what's called a "dry drowning." A person's body often goes into shock and shuts down before they inhale too much water, but warm water makes for what's known as a wet drowning. The person inhales a lot of water, uses a lot of oxygen and suffocates. It can happen quite quickly.
Experts we talked to say a fast response in warm weather drownings is critical. Rescuers try to get to a person as quickly as they can. However, the frisbee players who came to the rescue may have had good intentions of trying to save the man who was drowning. Lt. Tim Hibbs with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office does not recommend going in the water to try to rescue a drowning victim.
"Reaching and trying to take hold of someone that is drowning is a bad idea, bad idea. But to give them something or throw them something that floats, that would be the recommended procedure."
Lt. Hibbs also adds that going in the water after drinking isn't a good idea. He says everyone must use common sense. Every drowning, he says, is preventable.