Melville’s widow mourns her husband who drowned while fishing

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MELVILLE, La. (KLFY) – In America, 11 people die of drowning every day, and this week a Melville family discovered that it was the Atchafalaya River that claimed the life of their loved one.

Floyd Davenport was a loving father, husband and grandparent. He was also an avid outdoorsman. On the banks of the Atchafalaya River, Loubertha Davenport spoke to News 10 near the last place her late husband was seen alive, doing what he loved, fishing.

This photo was taken no later than a few hours before he disappeared with all his belongings on the shore.

“I was like something was wrong, so I called the police,” Loubertha recalled. “He (the police) kept telling me the possibility he could have drowned, and I said there was no way. He knows water, he’s smarter than that .

Officials from the Melville Police Department, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries searched for Floyd Davenport. Loubertha and her family searched for her husband day and night for 17 days. She told a Melville resident who confirmed her worst fear.

“I was hopeful until I saw his body,” Loubertha admitted to News 10. “I have a deathly fear of water.”

Louisiana has the highest rate of drowning deaths in the entire continental United States according to the Center for Disease Controland a study from last year showed our most Googled phobia of 2021 was “fear of water.”

What Americans fear most, according to their Google searches

Louisiana Department of Health Region 4 Medical Director Dr. Tina Stefanski warned, “Drowning can happen in an instant.

Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, but drowning is still among the top three causes of accidental death in Louisiana until age 44, and it kills dozens of people older than that in our state every year. Men account for 80% of drowning deaths in Louisiana.

Data collected from the CDC

“It may be because they are more likely to engage in some of these activities that involve or are centered around bodies of water,” Dr. Stefaanski explained. “And in Louisiana, we have so many recreational activities centered around natural bodies of water. That’s the most common location for seniors.

When fishing, boating, or swimming, the Louisiana Department of Health recommends using the buddy system and wearing a life jacket that can protect you in the event of a head injury. Doctors also say it’s never too late to learn to swim.

“It will save your life,” Stefanski encouraged.

Floyd Davenport was 64 with family down to great-grandchildren, and his life was precious to those around you.

“I never dreamed of losing him and certainly not this way. It’s tough. It’s tough,” Loubertha concluded.

More information on drowning deaths and how to prevent them can be found at the CDC.

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