Family and friends remember Opelousas man who drowned in Livingston Parish

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An Opelousas family is mourning the death of Ketni Thomas (34) who drowned in a tiki tubing accident in Livingston Parish.

One of his long-time friends, Desrick Edwards, says he is still trying to process what happened. “He was a good person. The act that he did just to save someone else life, I mean it’s indescribable for someone to do something like that.”

Another friend, John Belton, was with Thomas on the tubing trip along the Upper Amite River in the Watson area. Belton says as Thomas was getting into the tube, a large boat passed and caused a large wake. He says Thomas then swam upstream to help a family friend in distress and that’s when he became tired and went under water. “It’s a brave act. You never know what you would do in that situation and he did it and it took a lot.”

Livingston Parish Sheriff, Jason Ard, says Thomas was not wearing a life jacket.

Just last year, two men died tubing along the same river. Pack & Paddle Manager, Scott Bienvenu, says while a life jacket is not mandatory, it is necessary to your life. “People that are getting in the inner tubes you should probably be wearing life jackets, especially if it’s a heavy populated area that they’re riding inner tubes down and there’s a lot of boat traffic that runs through. Secondly, guys that are operating boats need to keep in mind that there are other people on the water that may be in smaller vessels.”

Sheriff Ard says this is still under investigation.

No one else was hurt.

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