Man dies after being trapped underwater during Smokies trip

Man dies after being trapped underwater during Smokies canoe trip

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GATLINBURG (WATE) - A Canadian man canoeing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park died Monday night after being submerged underwater for several minutes Monday afternoon.

Steve Senior, 65, of Bridgenorth, Ontario, became pinned underwater while canoeing with a group of whitewater enthusiasts in a section of the Little River known as the Sinks.

Senior became trapped after his canoe capsized and he was swept downstream.

National Park officials say Senior was submerged for approximately 30 minutes and was unresponsive when he was rescued by members of his group. The group had several precautions in place in case of an emergency.

"They were coming down the river in groups. They had a safety protocol set up, where some of the more experienced kayakers would come down first, evaluate the scene, go back , and give advice to the rest of the kayakers and canoers that were following them. They also had other people on the banks who had safety equipment with them," explained Dana Soehn, with the National Park Service.

Emergency responders arriving on the scene began CPR and were able to revive him sufficiently to get spontaneous heartbeats and respiration.

Senior later died at Blount Memorial Hospital, a hospital spokesperson said.

Rangers say they don't recommend any kind of whitewater recreation in the park.

Senior was a long time family physician in Canada.

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