Three missing after canoe tips in Polk County
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 17, 2013 | 3469 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two juveniles and an adult remain missing today after a tragic boating accident was reported in Polk County late Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency crews are expected to continue a search today.

According to Ben Davis of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the adult and five juveniles were in a canoe on the rain-swollen Conasauga Creek, near the Hiwassee River.

The canoe overturned, dumping all six people into the fast-moving creek.

Three of the juveniles reportedly made it to safety, but the others are still missing.

Davis said today the children who made it to safety were all under the age of 10.

The adult was believed to be in his 30s and no information on age was available regarding the other missing juveniles.

Davis also said they were members of the Mennonite community in Delano.

“Due to their community beliefs, information has been difficult to obtain,” Davis said.

Davis said first responders went to Needle Eye Road shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday.

West Polk Fire and Rescue, Bradley County Fire-Rescue, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee State Parks officials responded to the area and put boats in the raging creek.

Davis said the canoe was recovered a short distance from where it reportedly overturned.

Bradley County Fire-Rescue Chief Troy Spence said this morning the waters have receded some.

“That will definitely help us in our search,” Spence said.

As of Wednesday, more than 7 inches of rain had fallen in the Bradley-Polk County area since Sunday.

The rain-swollen creeks have fallen victim to tornado-damaged trees as well, creating log and brush jams.

BCFR and other mutual-aid responders were on the scene this morning, battling the elements and impending changing weather conditions.

TWRA is in charge of the investigation.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available, according to Davis.