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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Norris, TN

    Post Sad day on the Clinch


    You are here: Home / News / Police and Fire / Man drowns in Clinch River near Norris Dam
    Man drowns in Clinch River near Norris Dam

    Posted at 8:33 pm September 7, 2012 by John Huotari

    An elderly man drowned in the Clinch River Friday afternoon after his fishing boat capsized and he fell into the frigid water about a half-mile downstream of the Norris Dam, Anderson County Rescue Squad Chief Terry Allen said.

    The victim’s name is being withheld pending family notification, Allen said.
    The man’s body was found in the River Road boat launch area, about a half-mile downstream from where he was first reported in the water near a weir dam, Allen said.

    The man was unresponsive when medics found him, Allen said. Medics administered advanced life support measures, such as CPR, but were unable to revive him.

    Allen said the water depth in the area can vary from four feet to 18 feet, and the water temperature is about 55 degrees where the man fell in.
    Allen said the Anderson County Rescue Squad and Anderson County Emergency Medical Services both responded to the 1:33 p.m. drowning.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Always sad to hear, and apparently he was one of the many who have begun fishing above the weir with the water running. That is according to local folks in law enforcement. Thoughts are with his family.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Just talked to a witness and said that the man went over the weir, boat flipped and ended up crushed to the point it was almost unrecognizable.

    I would say this is the straw that broke the camels back, and boats above the weir will be outlawed.

    Why people can't understand that the weir is no joke in anything other than a boat designed for whitewater with an experienced person on the oars is beyond me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Always sad to here news like this. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    I and another guide were up there yesterday when this happened. I had seen this gentleman many times in this section of water. He put in at the handicap access and was trolling upstream in a small jon boat. He usually fishes with a companion but yesterday he was by himself, and appeared to be having trouble with his motor, although it was running well enough to take him upstream and past us headed for the dam where he went out of sight. We did not see him for the rest of the day although we could hear his motor crank and head back upstream. Later at the take out we were met by TWRA, TVA, and local EMS folks and found out what had happened. A couple who were fishing in a much larger boat below the weir were there and they had actually recovered him from the water. The main concern was that he had been fishing with someone else who was unaccounted for. Both ourselves and some workers who were pouring rock at the weir were able to confirm he was by himself.
    He had in fact fallen out of the boat above the weir and the low sides and narrow beam of a jon make it almost impossible to climb back in by yourself. Both he and the boat were taken over the weir dam.
    TVA has made every effort to keep this type of boat from putting in there. There is no boat ramp save for the locked one used by TVA navigation. They have put in posts and large rocks to keep this from happening after some anglers in a motor boat drove a jeep over the mulch beds to access the closed ramp. This gentleman had a small dolly specifically made to allow him to walk the narrow jon boat between the posts put there by TVA to block access. TVA has made it abundantly clear that they don't allow this type of boat above the weir, or drift boats either for that matter, it is a canoe, kayak, and raft access and boats must be picked up and carried to be allowed in this section.
    This is a trajic accident and my heart goes out to his family. He was fishing alone, in fast, deep, cold water. In a boat made for shallow lakes and ponds, with no life jacket and no way to control the craft should the motor fail. This type of accident could have happened anywhere on the river at high water, and there are many, many warning signs posted by TVA to make you aware of that.
    It was a tragic accident, plain and simple. You can only make things so safe, no one is to blame.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Mid Tennessee


    Sad indeed. Here is a story about an accident below Center Hill dam that fortunately had a happier ending.
    "Here fishy fishy."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Knoxville, Tennessee


    Quote Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
    Why people can't understand that the weir is no joke in anything other than a boat designed for whitewater with an experienced person on the oars is beyond me.
    I would say weir dams will still kill you, and there is no such thing as a boat designed to run them, or a person with skills that will always make a difference.

    While the design of the Norris weir is quite forgiving (compared to most)leading many not to take it seriously, it is still a fine line between a successful and non successful run.

    I have paddled whitewater for 13 years, and the only time I have ever felt in real danger was in the weir dam where Big Creek runs into the Pigeon. After being recirculated 3 or 4 times (Thank God I had Swiftwater rescue training) I was sure glad to see my pal MaryAnn throw me a rope and get me the heck out of there I now take-out above that rapid, and if I need more of an adrenaline rush I can always hike up the trail.

    A Sad day for the Clinch and the guys family

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