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Safety of Busco Beach in question after five drown in 12 years

Posted July 10, 2012
Updated July 11, 2012

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— Two days after a teenager drowned while swimming at Busco Beach in Goldsboro, questions are being raised about the safety of the private recreational area.

Records show five people have drowned at the park in the last 12 years. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office responded to drownings there in 2000, 2004, 2010, 2011 and this past weekend.

Steve Harrison, chief of the Rosewood Fire Department, was part of a rescue dive team who found the body of a man at the beach years ago.

He said he still thinks about what he saw that day.

“The body that I recovered was actually sunk in the ground, and it took some force to get him freed up,” Harrison said. “It appeared that his feet had gotten stuck and he might have bent over to push himself up from the floor, and his hands got stuck at the time.”

When Harrison heard about 14-year-old Jaimel Cooper, who drowned at Busco Beach on Sunday, he said the memories came flooding back.

“I think some investigation needs to be done,” he said, adding that the owner of the beach should have divers mark trouble spots and post warning signs.

Cooper’s family says they were told by authorities that the young man was standing in the water but started to sink.

“My baby got caught,” said Kim Cooper, Jaimel’s mother. “He’s not coming back.”

Busco Beach Latest death prompts concern about safety of private recreational area

Jack Rose Bennett, who founded Busco Beach but is not the current owner, defended the facility. He said sent divers in years ago to make sure there were no unsafe spots in the sand¬.

“I researched this thing. I worked on it intensely before I ever allowed anyone to swim there,” he said.
“We graded and sloped those shores beautifully to perfection, then we allowed the swimmers to come.”

Cooper was there with a friend's family. Bennett says the issue was that the teen wasn't supervised.

“As long as there are ponds and lakes and creeks and rivers and swimming pools and people swim, they’re going to drown,” he said. “And most of it’s irresponsible parents or guardians.”


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Obamanation Jul 13, 2012

    Here's an idea. How about all of the drunks throw their bottles and cans into the lake thus solidifying the substrate for swimmers? I'll take a glass and aluminum bottom over quick sand any day of the week.

  • smegma Jul 13, 2012

    "Agree. Unsure why but most of my post are NOT getting thru even though they clearly follow guidelines."

    you know exactly why. it's WRAL. biased beyond all belief.

  • smegma Jul 13, 2012

    there's no questions being raised by anyone but the media

  • promethazine codeine lover Jul 12, 2012

    @Keep improving, I wasn't laughing at the fact about bringing a designated lifeguard... I am laughing that you think it is actually possible to apply those principles to people swimming at that location... I highly doubt they will make it a requirement to bring a lifeguard with you , if you want to swim at that beach... Just unrealistic to me. Good ideas/principles though. No doubt.

  • Keep Improving Jul 11, 2012

    As a former boy scout, Andy Griffith, would not have thought it was funny. One of the many things boy scouts are taught:
    If lifeguards are not provided by others: Designate two capable swimmers as lifeguards, Station them ashore, Equip with a lifeline (a 100-foot length of 3/8-inch nylon cord), REACH: pole or oar, THROW: rope, life saving torpedo or ring, ROW: row boat rescue (still reach victim with oar or rope or boat), GO (with assistance): last resort, use good judgment (e.g., tie rope around rescuer with another on shore to pull them in) Provide one guard for every 10 people in the water, Adjust the number and positioning of guards as needed... for the rest
    Google: BSA Safe Swim

  • keg4life Jul 11, 2012

    ok, lets keep a few facts in line. there have been 5 drownings in 21 years not 5. fact. keep in mind the first two drowning were contributed to alcohol , one being intoxicated at .28 and the second at .25. fact. then keep in mind the latest kid was there with another family, not his own, and the kids were unsupervised at the time. fact. also, the statements made about where this kid drowned by the fire chief that it is the same spot is a ou right lie. fact. just do some research people, all this info is public record. i am unsure of the other two. but either way not a bad record for such a busy place. it is a shame for this kid and his family. but sad that his family is seeking a lawyer and the kid is not in the ground yet.

  • code3engine2 Jul 11, 2012

    As a regular person that goes to busco all the time, and yes I do swim out there, there is a issues with that lake. Majority of that lake bottom feels like quick sand, except its like bottom less thick mud, and I personally have gone out there swimming and got stuck myself, and I'm 26 years old. I don't agree on shutting down busco, but the lake does need to be checked out to make sure it is safe to swim in. And if it is unsafe, post no swimming signs all around the lake. On a different subject, there's entirely to many people that get drunk or drinks alcohol out there, I think they need to have a no alcohol policy out there, and not just put up a sign, get local police to check coolers! I like going to busco, but the lake is unsafe, and there's to much alcohol out there, if they take care of them two issues it would be a family friendly place to go

  • RM24 Jul 11, 2012

    come on -stop putting just the negative comments WRAL!!!!If youre not gonna be fair to ALL-shut down the comments then!!!
    Steven in NC

    Agree. Unsure why but most of my post are NOT getting thru even though they clearly follow guidelines.

  • RM24 Jul 11, 2012

    There is always alot of under age drinking at this place, maybe ALE needs to go for a swim

    Underage drinking everywhere. Or are you suggesting they sell alcohol to minors there? As far as underage drinking ALE will never stop it. Parents need to do their job!

  • schooldoctor Jul 11, 2012

    Sand or mud if you allow your children to swim unsupervised you are totally responsible. You can paint this picture any way you like but more people drown without lifeguards than with, you do have a choice where you swim. Look at auto deaths without seat belts, same story just a different day. Sorry for the family it is a hard lesson but it will last forever.