The victims, who ranged from 13 to 18 years old, died while trying to save one another.
“They were out here with some adults. But unfortunately, neither the children nor the adults could swim,” Shreveport Assistant Fire Chief Fred Sanders told the Associated Press.
A seventh teenager, a 14-year-old, was rescued. Authorities said they would hold a news conference on Tuesday to give more details about the deaths.
An emergency crew arrived after police received a call around 6:30 p.m. about one person drowning.
It took officials approximately 10 minutes to find the sinkhole, and that’s when they learned that there were multiple drowning victims. By 10:30 p.m., all the bodies were recovered.
Marilyn Robinson, a friend of the victims, witnessed as the five males and one female disappeared under the water. She said a big group of friends and family, including 20 kids, had gotten together to have a nice time.
“They were yelling ‘Help me, help me. Somebody please help me,’ Robinson told the Shreveport Times. She added she did not know how to swim. “It was nothing I could do but watch them drown one by one.”
The area is a popular hot-spot to picnic, fish and go wading.
Sanders aid the city had never experienced a tragedy of this magnitude.
“It’s devastating,” he said.
My condolence goes out to the family this is a very tragic event.