OPERATION SAFE CHILDREN: Effingham County family speaks publicly after son’s drowning

Local News

Summer is just around the corner and kids are jumping into another season of fun in the water.

Before families head to the pool or beach, one Effingham County wants to sound the alarm on the importance of water safety.

Last summer, A.J. King and his brother, Jake, 17, were camping with friends at the Steel River Boat Landing on the Ogeechee River.

King, 19, and his friends were swimming on the morning of August 5th when his friends couldn’t locate him in the water.

“They just started screaming ‘Where’s AJ?’ and I just started sprinting,” Jake King said.
 “They had been looking for him and everyone was looking for him and I needed to get there as soon as possible,” his mother Renee King said.

The search then transitioned from rescue to recovery. The Effingham County Coroner’s Office declared his death due to fresh water drowning but has not released how he drowned.

“That was my brother, I didn’t think, I’ve heard of freak accidents but I didn’t think out of everyone it would have been my brother at the river while we were having a good time,” Jake King said.

His mom Renee chose to speak out in hopes that her son’s death would not be in vain. She urges all parents, regardless of their kids’ ages, to be mindful of always watching kids while in the water and stressing water safety.

“If anything good can from his death, I would hope that somebody is listening,” she said. “Who wouldn’t normally pay as much attention to what’s going on, to pay attention.”

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