Swift water causes dangerous conditions in Smokies

Swift water causes dangerous conditions in Smokies

Posted:
Park officials are warning visitors to be careful while being around creeks or rivers. Park officials are warning visitors to be careful while being around creeks or rivers.
Despite the advice from park officials, people were still getting into the water Friday. Despite the advice from park officials, people were still getting into the water Friday.
A kayak group from Louisiana was at the Sinks Friday afternoon. A kayak group from Louisiana was at the Sinks Friday afternoon.
"When they are running this turbulent, there is a lot of extra sediment in the streams," said park spokesperson Dana Soehn. "When they are running this turbulent, there is a lot of extra sediment in the streams," said park spokesperson Dana Soehn.
"We won't go into the river corridor without a life jacket and helmet on," said kayaker Harlan Hughes. "We won't go into the river corridor without a life jacket and helmet on," said kayaker Harlan Hughes.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Several days of heavy rain have caused dangerous conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Park officials are warning visitors to be careful while being around creeks or rivers. 

"We were just saying we wouldn't want to get to close or accidentally fall in, because it looks like it's moving pretty fast," said park visitor Chastity Butterfield.

Along with the swift current, there are also hidden dangers with so much water.

"When they are running this turbulent, there is a lot of extra sediment in the streams," said park spokesperson Dana Soehn. "It makes it very difficult to see all those hazards that are often beneath the surface of the water, like large boulders, currents, and also tree limbs."

Park officials say they cannot prohibit people from getting into the water, but they do say if you want to stay safe just stay out.   

Despite the advice from park officials, people were still getting into the water Friday.

A kayak group from Louisiana was at the Sinks Friday afternoon, a popular kayaking location on the Little River. They said they have experience for being on big water.

"Three members of our group are swift water rescue instructors," said kayaker Harlan Hughes. "We won't go into the river corridor without a life jacket and helmet on."

Hughes say people who have no experience should definitely stay away from the water.

Park officials say drowning is the second leading cause of death in the Smokies.

"We unfortunately had a kayaker killed earlier this year in March," said Soehn.

Since 1971, there have been 36 drownings in the national park. There were two in 2012 and so far this year there has been one.

The leading cause of death in the Smokies is motor vehicle accidents. There have been 123 deaths since 1971.

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