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15-year-old male drowns in Leaf River, name released

PETAL, Miss. - A 15-year-old male's body was recovered in the Leaf River Sunday night. Forrest County coroner Lisa Klem said DonTarius Bowens of Hattiesburg died from drowning in the Leaf River.

Multiple agencies responded around 5:30 pm to conduct a search and rescue for Bowens Sunday evening after he went missing in the Leaf River off the Evelyn Gandy Parkway Bridge.

Petal Fire Department's Battalion Chief Carlton Sims said multiple bystanders said they saw Bowens go under, but did not see him resurface.

Battalion Chief Sims said it took Forrest County and Petal divers 5 hours to recover the body.

"We searched the water up and down the river from where they said he fell in the water or where he was swimming at. They picked up several objects from the water from site sonar" said Sims.

The divers picked up what appeared to be an object, they sent divers down and that's where they recovered Bowens' body.

The Petal Fire Department warns swimmers to not underestimate the water's current and to wear a personal flotation device if needed.

"If we see certain currents going into the water we try to avoid those areas, if not, the waters will pull you under."

The agencies at the scene were: The Forrest County Sheriff's Department, Petal and Hattiesburg Fire Department.



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