Drowning victim at Perry's Mill Dam is not the first to die

Drowning victim at Perry's Mill Dam is not the first to lose life at spot

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"A lot of the younger folk that's swim there and recreate there, they've lost the fear of the dam or don't realize the fear of the danger that's there," Capt. Tim Ogle said. "A lot of the younger folk that's swim there and recreate there, they've lost the fear of the dam or don't realize the fear of the danger that's there," Capt. Tim Ogle said.
The dam is a popular swimming spot and one of the most beautiful spots in Blount County but it can also be one of the most dangerous. The dam is a popular swimming spot and one of the most beautiful spots in Blount County but it can also be one of the most dangerous.
"The water is rushing really heavily, my 10-year-olds can't even walk out there right now without it carrying it away," said Rebecca Kootz of Seymour. "The water is rushing really heavily, my 10-year-olds can't even walk out there right now without it carrying it away," said Rebecca Kootz of Seymour.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

WALLAND  (WATE) –    A 25-year-old man is dead after drowning at Perry's Mill Dam. Sadly, he's not the first to lose his life there.

The victim is Townsend resident Bobby Halcomb. Rescuers responded to Perry's Mill Thursday night around 7:30 last night to find him unresponsive in the water.

He was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital where he died.

The dam is a popular swimming spot and one of the most beautiful spots in Blount County but it can also be one of the most dangerous.

"People don't seem to realize the power that water holds and the hydraulics that happen on the lower side of the dam, the hydraulics have a tremendous amount of power and you get caught in that and it will drag you to the bottom and it will not let go," explained Blount County Fire Department Capt. Tim Ogle.

The Blount County Fire Department responded to the call along with Blount County Sheriff and TWRA.

Thursday TWRA officials said the 25 year-old victim was attempting to do a dive or flip off the dam wall, getting trapped in the undertow.

"A lot of the younger folk that's swim there and recreate there, they've lost the fear of the dam or don't realize the fear of the danger that's there," Capt. Ogle said.

In 2009 a similar accident happen when a woman drowned after jumping from the dam.

Right now the water level is three feet above average, making for especially dangerous conditions. 

"The water is rushing really heavily, my 10-year-olds can't even walk out there right now without it carrying it away," said Rebecca Kootz of Seymour.

The Kootz family is a regular at Perry's Mill and says they often see people jumping.

"I've never tried it, I wouldn't do it in front of my 10-year-olds and I wouldn't allow them to do it," Kootz said.

There is one mud covered sign warning of the danger of the over fall.  Captain Ogle said more signs would help but in the end people need to be smart and aware of the water.

"The fear just seems to go away," Capt. Ogle said. "And we have to make sure we keep that respect, that fear of possible danger."

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