LENIOR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — A man is dead after a boat on Fort Loudoun Lake near Fort Loudoun Dam capsized.
The dam can be a dangerous place for boaters when water is spilling. The incident is the latest in what wildlife officials say are too many deaths near that dam every year.
“We just had our 24th fatal boating incident this calendar year across the state of Tennessee and it surpasses our annual average which is 22,” said Matt Cameron, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Cameron added that the TWRA sees too many boating fatalities happen near dams during spills.
“In this accident this morning, both of those gentlemen had life jackets on according to witness statements but the force of that water coming out of that spillway is immense. I mean you can’t even put it into words the power that that water has when it’s falling that great of a distance,” he said.
The two anglers who were on the boat were pulled into the water.
According to Cameron, “Their propeller will not bite in that water, and they get pulled into that spilling water and once that happens, that boat capsizes, pulls anglers into the water, and oftentimes you see the boat dip down in the water several feet and will shoot back up out of the water.”
According to officials, one man died. The other man was rescued by a nearby boat and then taken to Fort Loudoun Medical Center.
Farral Ozment comes to the dam often to take pictures of wildlife and the dam spilling.
“I came down the back ramp on the south side over there and I was talking to some fisherman when I saw the blinking lights up here and then I heard there was a guy who flipped his boat and got too close to the dam,” said Ozment.
When he saw what was happening, he started taking pictures of the scene.
“I saw a work boat that was working on the dam out here and they were going back and forth kind of looking for things, then I saw an ambulance, and then I saw a stretcher or something going up there so I guess they recovered the guy,” he explained.
Cameron said near the dam can be a great place to fish, but he wants people to remember to be careful. He said it’s not worth your life.
“These types of accidents can happen, and they do often happen. We’ve lost a lot of good anglers over the years to the same scenario that played out this morning,” said Cameron.
As people are on the water, TVA says you should never go into the water alone and always wear a life jacket. Also, make sure you have a safety plan in case of emergency.