GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Crews have recovered the body of a man who disappeared while kayaking above the Sinks on Friday afternoon, according to spokesperson Emily Davis with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Davis said that the body of 61-year-old Carl Keaney of Knoxville, Tennessee was recovered Monday after water levels in the Little River receded overnight. Keaney’s body was recovered near where he was last seen.
Park dispatch received a call around 3:40 p.m. on Dec. 16 that a man disappeared underwater while kayaking above The Sinks and did not resurface, the park said in a release.
The waterfall is located off Little River Gorge Road, about halfway between Townsend Wye and Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Pavilion. That portion of the road was closed to traffic Saturday, and then again today as crews search the river.
A park release said although high water levels over the last several days made recovery efforts difficult, emergency personnel searched the area where it was safe to do so.
Search personnel included National Park Rangers, as well as emergency personnel from Townsend Fire Department and Blount Special Operations Response Team. GSMNP said that American Medical Response (AMR) was also assisting the National Park Service
Friday night, the GSMNP shared on Twitter that Little River Road from Metcalf Bottoms to Townsend Wye was temporarily closed until further notice. The park announced on Saturday around 5 p.m. that the road was back open. It closed again Monday morning as search efforts continued.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.