The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 18:48

Update: Rangers find body of man swept away by high water near Obed

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IMG 0793 1Cleanup crews clear a section of roadway in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area following storms that swept the park May 26.  National Park Service

Search came as Big South Fork cleans up after May 26 storm that brought May rainfall total to 12 inches

WARTBURG — Searchers found the body of a man that was the subject of a search that began Memorial Day after he was swept away by high water in Daddy’s Creek in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area in Morgan County. 

Morgan County emergency management director Ethan Webb late Friday identified the victim as 57-year-old Wade Davis, originally identified by authorities as a Cumberland County resident. National Park Service personnel recovered the body about a mile downstream from Devils Breakfast Table near the Obed River. It is a rugged, steep area traversed by the Cumberland Trail.

Daddy’s Creek is a popular kayaking destination featuring class III and IV rapids that flows into the Obed River. Heavy rain had swollen the creek out of its banks, Webb said. Davis was with a family member when he lost his footing while wading and was swept downstream.

Multiple agencies were involved in the search “by air, by water and by land,” Webb said. “There wasn’t a day we didn’t search.” Drones, inflatable boats and a Highway Patrol helicopter were used. At least 25 people were involved at some point during the search, which was complicated by the speed of the water and rapids.

“We were in constant contact with the family,” he said. On Friday, the family received at least a measure of closure.

The original story is below:

Responders from multiple agencies continued searching late Tuesday for a man last seen wading in Daddy’s Creek near Devil’s Breakfast Table Bridge near the Obed Wild and Scenic River.

The search comes as maintenance crews cleared roads and trails following a May 26 storm that hit nearby Big South Fork with 2 inches of rain and high winds.

The 55-year-old Cumberland County man, whose name was not immediately available, was reported missing Monday evening.

Searchers include the National Park Service, along with assistance by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Rescue Squad, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Rescue Squad and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, according to the National Park Service.

Rivers and streams were likely swollen at the time of the man’s disappearance. Nearby Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area recorded 2 inches of rain May 26, on top of the 10 inches already recorded in May.

The storm also contained high winds that downed trees throughout Big South Fork, stranding some backpackers and visitors to Charit Creek Lodge.

Crews continue with the completion of the clean-up of Divide Road, Twin Arches, and Fork Ridge Road, according to the National Park Service. The following areas and trails remain closed to all pedestrian and vehicle traffic due to  extensive tree damage: Divide, Fork Ridge, Twin Arches roads, including access to hiking trails and other infrastructure in the area. 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 18 June 2024 12:24
Published in News, Earth