24 May A man drowned at this popular NC waterfall. Three days later, his body’s still there. | Charlotte Observer
Three days after a man drowned at a popular North Carolina mountain waterfall, his body has yet to be retrieved.
A dive team from Charlotte was expected to help local emergency workers find and retrieve the body on Wednesday at Elk River Falls in Pisgah National Forest, the Associated Press reported.
The victim, who is from Ohio, visited the falls on Sunday after attending a wedding in Asheville, Observer news partner WBTV reported. The man is in his 20s, according to WSOC-TV.
The U.S. Forest Service calls Elk River Falls "one of the deadliest scenic attractions in Avery County, NC. Deaths and very serious injuries including paralysis have occurred when people jumped from the top of this waterfall.
Help us deliver journalism that makes a difference in our community.
Our journalism takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to produce. If you read and enjoy our journalism, please consider subscribing today.
"Don’t be the next victim and don’t put emergency responders at risk," the forest service says on its Elk River Falls online page.
As of July 2016, 15 people had died at the falls over 20 years, Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye told the High Country Press at the time. Frye told the (Asheville) Citizen-Times this week that "about one death" occurs at the falls each year.
That month, a 39-year-old man died after jumping from the falls. It took two days to recover his body, Burnsville radio station WKYK reported.
In August 2015, a 26-year-old woman jumped 40- to 60 feet from the falls and never surfaced, according to the High Country Press..
According to Visit NC, Elk River Falls is the most impressive waterfall from sheer water volume in the border area between northeastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
The "plunge pool" at the falls "is extremely large" and draws crowds in summer, according to Visit NC.
The man who died on Sunday was walking at the bottom of the falls when he might have slid off a rock, Frye told the Citizen-Times.
People hike, picnic, wade and swim there, although signs warn of the dangers of rock climbing and wading at the bottom of the waterfall.
The Charlotte Fire Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment as to whether its dive team is assisting at Elk River Falls.
Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak