UPDATE: CPSO investigating Westlake drowning - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

UPDATE: CPSO investigating Westlake drowning

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) -

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating a drowning in the Calcasieu River on Mims Road in Westlake according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kim Myers.

Danny L. Gabbard, 60, of Lake Charles was on a boat in the river when he allegedly jumped into the river, said Myers. 

"We heard a call on channel 16 that a swimmer had been missing for approximately 10 minutes," said Petty Officer Joshua Helot with the Coast Guard.

He says his team was already on the way to help wildlife and fisheries investigate another boat crash a little farther down the river.

"We arrived on scene about five minutes later there were about 20 or 30 people on the beach waving us over," said Helot. 

Helot said he was the first off the boat and found 60-year-old Danny Gabbard unconscious on the shore.

Witnesses located Gabbard's body under the water before deputies got to the scene and tried to revive him.

"I started CPR there and waited until the remaining crew members came and we pulled him out of the water, still doing CPR," said Helot. "After about five minutes of CPR, Wildlife and Fisheries showed up and their boat was a lot smaller than ours, so we placed the individual on the bow of their boat and then took them to the saltwater barrier boat ramp."

Still trying to revive Gabbard, they handed him off to EMS who took him to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

"There were no signs of life when we arrived and, just by estimates, there were probably five people that told us he had been in the water for approximately 10 minutes," said Helot. 

In the aftermath of this tragedy and other deadly boating accidents this weekend, Helot advises boaters to take the proper steps towards safety.

"If you're going to be in the water, I recommend wearing a life jacket," said Helot. "If you have a big group of people, try to keep track of everyone. If you're not a strong swimmer, I recommend staying close to shore and not chancing it." 

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's office is handling the ongoing investigation into what exactly happened Saturday. 

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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