According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Ben Davis, search crews who have been combing the waters and banks of Conasauga Creek in Polk County’s Mennonite community in Delano confirmed the recovery of one of two children reported missing.
Davis could not release the name of the victim, who was believed to be 6 years old.
Davis identified the father of the child as Nick Alley, 36. Alley and another child remain missing after they and three other children went canoeing on the rain-swollen creek Jan. 16.
Davis indicated preliminary reports were that all five children involved were 10 years of age or younger. Three of the children made it to safety.
Torrential rains had caused the creek to swell beyond its banks creating a depth of approximately 12 feet above normal, according to officials.
Crews from Bradley and Polk County fire departments and Tri-State Mutual-Aid Association have all joined in the daily search.
Davis said crews will possibly have to suspend operations today due to bad weather.
West Polk Fire Rescue Chief Steve Lofty said area churches and the Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross have provided strong support to the volunteers who have come to aid the community and agencies in the search for the missing father and his children.
Crews have been in kayaks and rubber boats on the water, and on foot around the creek banks. A track-hoe provided by Wright Brothers Construction has been removing piles of logs from trees and brush which found their way into the creek after tornadoes.
Lofty said the equipment has also been dredging the sandy bottom of the creek.
Side-scan sonar has been utilized at the scene by TWRA and Hardeman County searchers.
Lofty said earlier this week the sonar aided in making sure soft sandy areas of the creek bottom were not trapping the bodies of the missing Mennonites.