Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Drowning Machine in Cypress Creek

Photo by L. Wray Dillard
The dam located near Florence's Cypress Creek pumping station has claimed more than one victim. In March 1982, two years after the structure's completion, Jerry Roberson and Allen Weeks drowned after their canoe capsized in the strong current.

In August 2004, Max Harlan died at the low-head dam. The next June, Will Pannell also drowned. At that time, civil engineers suggested retrofitting the weir, calling it a "drowning machine." So far the city has not performed any work on the dam, but has reportedly increased the number of warning signs at the dam's approach.

It's been six years since Pannell's death, but there is no guarantee that the strong current produced by the dam won't claim other lives in the future. Florence is about to vote on settling a wrongful death suit brought by Pannell's family, but it should not be a matter of dollars and cents. Florence should do whatever it takes to make Cypress Creek safe.


Photographer L. Wray Dillard has posted a portfolio of stunning local photographs on the Panoramio site. You can view more photos of Cypress Creek at this link: