Officials discuss dam safety after deadly Harrison Co. incident

Officials discuss dam safety after deadly Harrison Co. incident
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:50 PM EST
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HARRISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Emergency responders are issuing a stern warning after a teen girl died from falling into the Licking River.

It happened Sunday at Robinson Dam in Harrison County. Fourteen-year-old Mia Woolums was rescued from the water but died yesterday at UK hospital.

Emergency responders say they usually respond to about one or two calls a year at Robinson Dam, and they are always fatal. This is the first incident since COVID, but they know it will not be the last.

There is something tranquil about the area around Robinson Dam that draws people to it. But below the surface, the churning water is far from soothing.

“We’ve done town hall meetings, we’ve posted a lot of stuff on social media, just explaining the dangers of this place. If we could just deter people from coming here,” said Harrison County Search & Rescue Chief Jeana Craft.

Before COVID, emergency officials would go to the schools in Harrison County to educate students about the dams in the county, and how they function and how fast someone can drown.

“I think that’s where a lot of people find themselves in trouble is the lack of education,” said Harrison County Emergency Management Director Joey Nelson. “They don’t know what they are encountering. They don’t understand the hydraulics involved in the dam, water currents, water temperature.”

First responders say they’ve tried to warn people on-site and around town, hoping something will stick.

“We’ve tried and things just get torn down,” said Harrison County Fire District Battalion Chief Nicholas Carson. “We’ve held meetings and stuff, it just does no good.”

First responders say all of these calls are preventable. They are hoping this latest tragedy will be what resonates with people.

The coroner has ruled Woolums’ death an accidental drowning.