HOUMA (WGNO) – A warning has been issued ahead of Memorial Day Weekend after Houma police responded to a possible drowning earlier this week.

According to Lieutenant Travis Theriot, 45-year-old Roberta Mackles got into the Intracoastal Waterway shortly before 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening and tried to swim from the west bank to the east bank.

“They received information that she started to struggle in the waterway,” recounted Lt. Theriot. “When they arrived, they learned that she had actually gone beneath the water surface and had not come back up.”

With assistance from other agencies, Houma police were able to locate Mackles and retrieve her body from the water. Her cause of death has yet to be released.

This isn’t the first time someone has fallen victim to the waterway.

Jeremy Spry’s father drowned 40 years ago when Jeremy was a baby while trying to get to his house on the residential side of the waterway.

“The bridge was broken open at the time, and the bridge tendant was like, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to go around and go through the tunnel.’ And then he said he turned around, and he said he heard him jump in. He said he saw him swimming, and then he disappeared,” said Spry.

Spry now works as a tugboat captain and says far too many times, people make the mistake of thinking they can swim in the waterway.

“Like, tugboats are heavy in this area, and that causes a strong undertow through those areas,” said Spry. “I know it doesn’t matter what type of swimmer you are. If it grabs you, it grabs you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Police are calling this incident a tragedy and hoping it can be a lesson for people in Terrebonne Parish.

“We want to remind the public of the dangers of swimming across the Intracoastal Waterway and in the Intracoastal Waterway because this has often happened, just like this before,” said Lt. Theriot.

For a list of water safety tips, courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, click here.