Judge orders closure of popular Missouri swimming hole

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Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says a judge has ordered the popular swimming hole called “Offsets” to close until further safety measures are taken. “Offsets” is a lead mine turned swimming hole in Southeast Missouri’s Fredericktown.

“It was incredibly important to me to ensure that swimmers were kept off the water at The Offsets for Memorial Day until proper safety measures are implemented,” Schmitt said in a press release. “It’s my hope that The Offsets will implement the necessary safety features and ensure that their patrons are able to safely enjoy themselves.”

Since its opening in the early 1980’s, at least 9 people have died from drowning or falling off of the bluffs and countless other injuries have occurred

Then-Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit against The Offsets in July of 2018, seeking to compel the entity to remedy the dangerous conditions their property poses to swimmers and patrons. In the final judgement, Judge Wendy Horn bars the owners of “The Offsets,” Gary and Rebecca Henson, from re-opening the swimming hole until extensive safety measures are met.

Some of the safety measures include requiring an emergency response plan to be prepared and frequent staff trainings to be held, stipulating specific areas where jumping is allowed and stationing trained lifeguards in those areas, requiring an additional lifeguard to be stationed in a boat in the water to be more readily available to rescue swimmers, requiring all patrons who are jumping into the water to wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests, and more.

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