A swift-water rescue team delivers the stranded woman safely to shore at Lake Overholser.
Firefighters warn that this could happen to anyone. Hicks is not an inexperienced swimmer. She's been out on the lake many, many times and is a certified scuba diver.
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
Oklahoma City firefighters said a young woman's mistake at Lake Overholser should serve as an important lesson for all of us.
The Lake Overholser dam has a history of taking young lives and Friday afternoon it came very close to taking one more.
What started as a dip in the lake, turned into a full scale rescue for a 22-year-old sunbather.
"As hard as I was swimming, it just kept taking me back to where all the water is coming down right there," Kelli Hicks said.
Hicks was carried away by the currents.
"I thought I was going to die there for a minute actually," Hicks said.
She was pulled right into the path of the spillway.
"It took me right to the dam," Hicks said. "It caught me up, and I grabbed a hold of the wall. It scratched me up a little bit here and little bit there."
Hicks said she knows how close she came to losing her life and firefighters agree.
"This could have been a pretty big tragedy," Oklahoma City Fire Department Deputy Chief Cecil Clay said. "That water has a heck of an undertow when it's coming out of that dam and we've had problems out here before."
Last August, Phillip Jones, a 17-year-old Putnam City High School student was with his track team when flood waters pulled him into the lake. His body was found near the dam.
Recent rainfall is why the water was spilling over the dam when Hicks decided to take a swim that ended up being too close for comfort.
"This person was lucky, but the lesson learned is to not go into turbulent water," Clay said.
It's a lesson Hicks will never forget.
"I'm not getting back over there, I can tell you that," Hicks said.
Firefighters said if you do decide to go swimming in any lake or body of water, always make sure you have another person with you in case something like this happens.
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Oklahoma City, OK 73111
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