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Novice Swimmer Drowns In River

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

National Park News

On the morning of Saturday, August 7th, a park employee advised ranger Jim Cannon that a person was missing on the river at Blue Heron. Cannon responded and spoke with two people in a canoeing party who said that the missing man, Bryce Hood, had last been seen floating on his back down the river. Cannon summoned the McCreary County Rescue Squad and directed park staff to search along the river banks in the area.  According to the people who were with Hood, they’d launched canoes at the Blue Heron canoe access and planned to boat to Yamacraw.  While stopped for a break at a calm looking pool, some members of the group began swimming in the river. Witnesses said that Hood was not a good swimmer, having learned just a few weeks previously.  Another member of the group told Cannon that Hood had cut his right big toe on a rock, and that they thought that he’d gone to the bathroom to care of it. There was a time span of approximately five minutes from the point where someone last saw Hood until they realized that he was missing. An unidentified witness told the group that he last saw Hood floating on his back down the river, but added that he did not look as if he was in distress. The Pulaski County Rescue Squad dive team arrived around 3:30 p.m. and searched the area where Hood was believed to have last been seen. They employed sonar and began a grid search of the river, working their way down to an area known as Joe’s Shoals. Meanwhile, a Kentucky State Police helicopter flew the river gorge, searching both the river and both banks. Divers found Hood about six feet underwater in an eddy along the river’s left bank. A raft was employed to recover the body, which was turned over to a coroner. Cannon was IC on the incident. 


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