MILLER COUNTY, Mo. (KSNF) — Two men from India drowned over the weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks, a lake recently named as not only the most dangerous lake in Missouri but the most dangerous lake in the United States.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the .5 mile marker in the lake’s main channel.
Investigators learned that Uthej Kunta, 24, was swimming in the lake when he began to struggle and then went under. Shiva Keligari, 25, dove in to try and rescue Kunta but did not resurface.
Authorities dragged the lake at that location and recovered Kunta’s body by 4 p.m. Saturday. The MSHP Dive Team recovered Keligari’s body by 9 a.m. Sunday.
On Monday, Saint Louis University confirmed Kunta and Keligari were graduate students at the University’s School of Medicine.
Lake of the Ozarks “Most Dangerous Lake In The U.S.”
“Lake of the Ozarks” likely brings to mind images of a peaceful getaway. For others, it may remind them of a popular Netflix series where Lake of the Ozarks is the backdrop for violence, gambling and a Mexican drug cartel.
Either way, this popular Missouri lake draws countless visitors. It also continues to make the list of the most dangerous lakes in the United States.
Data tracking website Insider Monkey lists Lake of the Ozarks as the number one most dangerous lake in America. The reason is the large number of deaths that occur on the lake. Between 1993 and 2003, 33 people were killed in lake accidents — in a total area less than one-third of one percent the size of Lake Michigan.
Another website ranks the Missouri lake as number nine among the most dangerous lakes in America. That’s according to Pond Informer, a website consisting of professional pond consultants, aquaculture professionals, ecological scientists, and writers with “a passion for all things water.”
Although they place the Missouri lake as the 9th most dangerous in America, Pond Informer ranks Lake of the Ozarks first in the nation for boating accidents, most of which have proven fatal. Many attribute alcohol as the main contributor to the high number of deaths on the lake. Although drinking and boating is a federal and state crime, the Lake of the Ozarks is known for its drinking culture and celebrations.
Since no one monitors the activities that happen on the lake, people will often race boats and participate in other forms of competition, all in a fight for dominance. The lake’s racing culture is similar to drag racing, which means many racers try risky moves on the water that often puts smaller boats in danger.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, Lake of the Ozarks has been shown to contain high amounts of E. coli. In the past three years, though, there have been no confirmed cases of sickness from the E. coli bacteria due to swimming in the Lake of the Ozarks.