New signs caution swimmers after Lake Anna drowning

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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- This Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the drowning of six-year-old Asa Gayle at Lake Anna.

A memorial marks the spot where the Richmond child drowned along with new signs warning lakegoers of the dangers in that area.

Gayle, who was not wearing a lifejacket, fell off of rocks at dike three while fishing with her sister and grandfather.

Lousia County Marine units were out Monday educating lake-goers of the dangers in that area that is known as one of the most dangerous parts of the lake. It is where the cold and warm waters meet creating a powerful current.

"It's all about lessons learned if you don't learn anything from a tragedy you're likely to repeat the tragedy so it's important to figure out what happened, why it happened and take measures to mitigate some of those risks," said Deputy Louisa County Sheriff Rob Sarnoski.

The Fiore family was at Lake Anna last year when Gayle drowned and returned this year making sure their six-year-old triplets were all secured in their lifejackets.

"We were out here right after it happened, so unfortunately we've used it as a learning experience for our kids," Tony Fiore said.

"Once they heard about it they talked about it for a long time after that. 'Remember Mommy, that little girl that drowned and she wasn't wearing her lifejacket? We need to be safe when we go out there," Jennifer Fiore said.

The drowning of Gayle and 17-year-old Brandon Coleman less than 24 hours later in Lake Louisa made it a week the Fiore family and first responders will take with them every time they head out on the waters.

The two lives lost in Louisa County waters were just two of 200 from Memorial Day to Labor Day last year. A sobering statistic that victims' families like the Colemans say hope is a reminder of just how dangerous it can be out on the water.

The Coleman family will mark the anniversary of Brandon's death with a candlelight vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m.  Louisa Town Park.

1 Comment

  • Belsma

    Although even the most seasoned swimmers can drown, including olympic swimmers, it is important for parents to teach children how to swim, whether it be by them or someone else. It is my opinion that next to making sure our children get an education, it is as equally important to teach them how to swim and teach them life saving skills if they find themselves in danger. Most of us teach “stranger danger” and what to do, so why not “water danger”? I have not looked up the stats, but I would guess that more children have died from drowning than by a stranger.

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