Teen drowns in Oconaluftee River

by Jun 25, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

National Park Service release


At approximately 5 p.m. on Monday, June 24, Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers and Cherokee Search and Rescue responded to a report that a teenager didn’t resurface after he lost his footing in the Oconaluftee River behind the Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee, N.C. Responders trained in swiftwater rescue recovered the body of a 16-year-old male around 6:30 p.m. Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful.

Cherokee Fire and Rescue, Cherokee Police Department, Smokies Life employees and National Park Service staff and volunteers responded to and helped with the incident.

No additional details about the incident are available at this time.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials state, “Water recreation is not recommended in Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to numerous hazards and dangers. When recreating in the outdoors, always use caution around any swift moving water. There are no lifeguards in the park and help can often be hours away. It is important to understand water safety in and around the tempting water of the Smokies.”

They urge the following:

  • Use extreme caution when walking along riverbanks.
  • Do not dive or jump into the water.
  • Stay on the trail if you don’t feel confident in the water or don’t know how to swim.