Sisters explain circumstances surrounding drowning death

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dear editor,

As the family of Shana Cole, we would like to correct several misrepresentations of fact reported by your reporters in the recent tragedy we experienced.

First of all, we realize that we live in a small town and it does not take much to make the news, however, before certain things are printed by your paper, we urge you to please make sure you have your facts straight before printing and causing friends and family additional grief.

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So that your readers will know the truth, we offer the following facts concerning the tragic loss of our sister.

Shana had been floating on a raft inner tube leisurely enjoying the day.

She was not being pulled by a boat on an inner tube prior to her drowning.

She had actually gotten off the inner tube, placed it in the boat which was parked on a sandy shoreline.

She was last seen laying back in the water dunking her head backwards to get the hair out of her face.

What happened to cause her to drown we may never know.

We do know that she was accompanied by her fianc/ who dearly loved her.

She was an experienced swimmer, a certified diver and had spent every summer of her 41 years of life on the Alabama River.

We take comfort in knowing that she died doing what she enjoyed the most; spending time enjoying what God had created, the Alabama River.

We, as a family, would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Joe Sanders for his devotion and care, Chris Griffin and Justin Sumerlin, for locating and retrieving her body, Fielding Watts for providing the water hearse,

and all the other great river friends who assisted in our time of need.

We will never be able to express our appreciation to you.

We have learned through this experience, that on the river, we cannot rely on services for which our tax dollars pay.

As not only were they slow to respond, they were unable to make decisions and no one seemed to know who was in charge once they arrived.

Contradictory to what was reported in the paper, family and friends worked to resuscitate our sister and a private boat was used to move and transport our sister to the City Marina to meet Lawrence Funeral Home.

It was the assistance of our trusted family, friends and neighbors that came through for us that day.

Thanks again to all the folks on the river that day that helped and to all those that have and continue to comfort us during our time of sorrow.


Babs Bender

Mitzi Tucker

Sisters of Shana Cole