Drowning victim recovered at Midnight Hole in Smokies after search

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CATALOOCHEE, N.C. (WATE) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have confirmed the body of a man who was the subject of an active search on Tuesday has been found.

Yogesh Patel, 25, of Oak Forest, Illinois, was discovered in 18 feet of water in Midnight Hole by rescue divers and removed by emergency response personnel shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday.

He was reported missing at 7:36 p.m. on September 14 after he reportedly fell into the water at Midnight Hole and was observed struggling.  Bystanders attempted to pull Patel from the water but were not successful. 

Agencies assisting in the recovery operation and investigation included Haywood Country Emergency Management Agency, Haywood County Rescue Squad, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Haywood County Emergency Medical Services, Fines Creek Fire Department, Jonathan Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Clyde Fire Department, Newport Rescue Squad, Center Pigeon Fire and Rescue, Henderson County Rescue Squad and Dive Team, Asheville Rescue Squad and Dive Team and Cherokee Tribal Medical Examiner’s Office.  

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