Low water levels cause Indiana beaches to close

BIRDSEYE, IN (WAVE) - It was a blue sky on a Saturday in June on the second largest lake in Indiana.

The water temperature felt like a bathtub. Two bass fishing tournaments were underway. They just dumped 800 more tons of sand on the beach.

But officials with the Indiana Department of Natural resources have decided to close the beaches on Patoka Lake and three other Indiana state parks.

They said extremely low lake levels have become a public safety hazard.

"It's the same thing as diving in the shallow end of a pool. You don't know what's under the water and now things have changed. Now you have an irregular shaped shoreline under the water that you cannot see when you're walking in the water," said Reservoir Supervisor Tom Riley.

They've closed the beaches many times here before because of high water. Closing them because of low water is an unprecedented move here.

"Wow that's incredible. I didn't know it was that bad but I could see why they would want to do that when it gets this low, it could be dangerous for people," said boater Emily McClanahan.

"I've never seen it this low before. I've been coming for years. I've never seen it this low," said boater Kent Smith.

"Over Memorial day weekend we did have a near drowning," said Riley. "A young gentleman got out too deep over what he expected and he went under. Everything was fine but he had to be transported."

Riley said the lake level will have to come up at least a couple of feet before they'll reopen the beaches.

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