Greeneville Search & Rescue Squad addresses dangers of Nolichucky River


The Greeneville Search & Rescue Squad and Greene County Sheriff’s Department were out on the Nolichucky River this morning looking for answers after a man’s body was discovered Sunday evening about a mile from the boat ramp at Birds Bridge on Old Asheville Highway. 

Now, investigators are asking for tips to help identify the man. 

“The Sheriff’s Department was down here this morning and we did have a boat in the river,” said Paul Frutiger with the Greeneville Search & Rescue Squad. “They were looking at the shoreline, we don’t know whether he was fishing and fell in, or what the circumstances were, they were just looking to see if there were any clothes on the shore or maybe he had been camping somewhere.”

Crews were searching a stretch of the river that Frutiger says can be treacherous, despite its popularity among locals.

“It isn’t even June and we’ve been out on the river three times already this year,” he said. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Boater discovers body in Nolichucky River, deputies say

One man swimming in the river on Monday, who didn’t want to be identified, pointed out that rip tides are frequent along the Nolichucky.

“If you don’t know they’re there, it can pull you under,” he said. “If you try to swim and you’re not that adept of a swimmer, it could pull you under, you never know what you’re going to get.”

Debris underneath the water can also be dangerous for swimmers. 

“If you go under,” said Frutiger, “you’re libel to get caught underneath there and you won’t be able to free yourself or be able to get back up to the surface.” 

Frutiger also said there are large drops-offs underneath the water.

“The sand bars,” he said, “you can walk right off and fall into 12 feet of water.”

The best way to make sure you’re safe is to wear a life jacket while you’re in the water. 

“I know it ruins your tan line and I know if can be hot,” said Frutiger, “but it doesn’t do you any good if you drown.”

If you have information that could help deputies identify the man, you are asked to call the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. 

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