Popular Swimming Hole Still Dangerous


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DECORAH, IA –  The swimming hole where Eric Langland was last seen is a popular site for locals, but Decorah authorities say this is just one example of the dangers it poses.

Everything is on the table as Decorah’s Fire Department led by Fire Chief Mike Ashbacher, continue the search for 29 year-old, Eric Langland of Decorah.

“We are now monitoring the area where we believe the swimmer went into the water. we’re monitoring the area to see if he surfaces. we’ve checked with the areas of the river down stream from the dam and we check that area daily,” said Ashbacher.

Eric was last seen swimming near the Upper Dam along the Upper Iowa River and local law enforcement say it’s a popular but dangerous swimming place.

“This area is rural area, a rural recreation area. The Iowa DNR has different access locations to get to the river and recreate and different activities. This is one of those areas here that is common to swimmers who come here and tubers get in at different sections here. So that’s what we kind of have today,” said Ashbacher.

Sheriff Leon Bore says he’s worked along the Decorah Fire Department in the past with several water rescues in that same area.

“We’ve had calls out here and some specific one where a young man was on and the water was a little higher and he was on the dam area standing on a little ledge there. The Decorah Fire Department does a great job, they have a rescue team that comes out and helps with that and we were able to get him off there safely,” said Bore.

Chief Mike says he hopes others learn and take responsibility for their safety while near the water.

“We have a lot of people come here driving the summer must maybe to this particular spot but all up and down the Iowa River. We’d like to keep it as safe areas as we can for people who want to come and enjoy this. Unfortunately accidents like this do occur and we will try to do what we can to make the area safer,” said Ashbacher.

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