South Knoxville quarries pose dangers to swimmers

South Knoxville quarries pose dangers to swimmers

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Rescuers searched the massive quarry on Thursday for a possible drowning victim. Rescuers searched the massive quarry on Thursday for a possible drowning victim.
A witness saw what he thought was a man falling into the quarry from this overlook. A witness saw what he thought was a man falling into the quarry from this overlook.
"I saw a guy that appeared to fall backwards, hit the water, and didn't resurface," said witness John Cappiello. "I saw a guy that appeared to fall backwards, hit the water, and didn't resurface," said witness John Cappiello.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Members of the Knoxville Water Rescue Squad returned to Fort Dickerson Quarry Park Thursday night looking for a possible drowning victim.

A man called 911 Wednesday reporting he saw someone fall in.

This is not the first time emergency crews have been called to this quarry.

Fort Dickerson quarry in South Knoxville is massive. You can see the entire quarry from an outlook off Fort Dickerson Road.

It is from this outlook where John Cappiello says he saw someone fall in.

"I saw a guy that appeared to fall backwards, hit the water, and didn't resurface," said Cappiello.

After his 911 call, a massive search was started to search for the possible victim. The situation has put a spotlight on the danger of swimming in quarries.

"A quarry is basically, you have a cliff, and it's straight down, 150 feet, 200 feet in some cases," said Knoxville Fire Department Spokesman D.J. Corcoran.

Corcoran took us to Mead's Quarry Lake, which is also located in South Knoxville. He says they have had drownings at both locations.

"I wouldn't recommend it to my kids," said Corcoran. "I would tell them, 'Do not swim in a quarry.'"

If you do decide to visit either South Knoxville quarry, it is important to remember the rules. Each quarry has signs posted warning people that swimming is not allowed.

Even though the rules are in place, it's not keeping people from jumping in.

"If I choose to swim at the quarries, I usually go with somebody, just in case," said quarry swimmer Jonathan Woodroof. "If I do go by myself, make sure I have a cell phone or make sure I know how to swim."

"What I recommend if they are bound to swim in a quarry, to at least take a life jacket," said Corcoran.

If you are caught swimming in either quarry in South Knoxville you can face a $100 fine.

The rescue squad will continue to search for the possible victim until sundown on Thursday.

Because the water is so cold in the quarry, it may take several days for a body to resurface.

There still have been no reports of anyone missing in the area.

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