Canoeist pulled out of Little River dies
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Canadian canoeist who was pulled Monday afternoon from the Little River near the Sinks area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park later died at Blount Memorial Hospital.
Steve Senior, 65, of Bridgenorth, Ontario, died at 11:22 p.m. on Monday. He was visiting the area to attend the “Ain’t Louie Fest” which includes a series of river trips loosely organized by a group of whitewater enthusiasts.
Park dispatch received an emergency call through Blount County E911 at 12:41 p.m. Monday to report that Senior was trapped underwater at the Sinks after a canoe accident. He became trapped after his canoe capsized and he was swept downstream.
Just as emergency responders arrived at the scene, a group of canoeists pulled Senior out of the water and began CPR. National Park Service rangers, along with emergency personnel from Blount County and Townsend, took the victim by litter from the riverbank to a Rural Metro ambulance. Senior had reportedly been underwater for about 30 minutes and was unresponsive when he was rescued but later had spontaneous heartbeats and respiration. He was taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital where he later died.
The Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, Blount County Swift Water Rescue, Townsend Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Department, and Blount County Fire also responded to the incident. Little River Road was closed for over an hour to allow for emergency traffic.
Many members of the whitewater group are trained in swift water rescue and followed a series of safety protocols during their river trip. Serious water-related injuries are not uncommon in the park, and water recreation is not recommended due to numerous hazards and dangers, according to officials.
“There are just inherent dangers irregardless of your level of training,” park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said.
Facebook user Anne Wallace commented on the news of Senior’s death on The Daily Times website: “This was my doctor for the past 25 years. He will sadly missed by the whole village of Lakefield, Ontario.”Another comment came from Susan Ford, who works at Peterborough Regional Health Center in Ontario: “Thoughts and prayers to the family of Dr. Steve Senior. ... a very caring, compassionate man who will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”