Fellow boaters rescue Canadian man trapped at Sinks
By Joel Davis | (email@example.com)
A Canadian man was pulled from the Little River in critical condition after being trapped in the Sinks area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Monday afternoon.
Park dispatch received an emergency call through Blount County E911 at 12:41 p.m. to report that Steve Senior, 65, of Bridgenorth, Ontario, was trapped underwater at the Sinks after a canoe accident, said spokeswoman Melissa Coburn.
According to the Park Service, Senior 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. Senior became trapped after his canoe capsized and he was swept downstream. Many members of the group are well-trained in swift water rescue and immediately began rescue operations.
Just as emergency responders arrived at the scene, the group 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 is in critical condition.
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.
“It was a large group of whitewater canoeists,” said Townsend fire chief Don Stallions. “They have a strong skill set. They were in the middle of rescuing him when we got there. Not five minutes later, they got him freed and up out of the water.”