On radio: A representative from Little River Canyon will join us at 8:10 this morning on Hometown Headlines Radio Edition on WRGA 98.7 FM and online at wrga.streamon.fm.
We thought the above post was a hoax at first. The assumption was someone got “clever” following the fourth “major incident” at the falls since the Memorial Day weekend.
But the posting it serious. Deadly serious. And for good reason.
Two people — one from Rome, the other from Rockmart — have died in separate accidents at the falls since Memorial Day and a third man was seriously injured on Tuesday. Two other near-drownings have been reported there this year as well.
To enhance safety, the preserve is offering “13 Ways Not to Die at Little River Canyon National Preserve” this Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) The seminar is free and will include information about how some of the accidents happen — and how to avoid repeating them. For more: 256-845-9605.
The latest accident occurred Tuesday afternoon. From the National Preserve office:
About 11:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, Little River Canyon staff responded to a report of a visitor that was visibly distressed below the falls. The visitor had washed over the falls and sustained major injuries. Fischer Rescue and DeKalb County Ambulance Service were also dispatched. A helicopter unit from Alabama State Troopers retrieved the 39-year-old male from the bottom of the canyon. He was transported from the scene by air ambulance. Adamsburg Fire, Alabama State Troopers, Fort Payne Fire Department, DeKalb County Emergency Services, park Youth Conservation Corps, provided crowd control, medical services and high angle rescue support. The accident is still under investigation. The park thanks all those who assisted. This is the fourth major incident at the falls this since Memorial Day. Rescue personnel and park staff requests everyone to think about what is safe to do in the park during their visit. For more: Little River Canyon National Preserve at 256-845-9605. Webpage at www.nps.gov/liri. Facebook at Little River.
The two drownings so far this summer:
June 2 :The Cherokee County Coroner’s Office has confirmed that one person is dead following a drowning at Little River Falls Friday afternoon. Divers were called to area at the request of an Alabama State Trooper; according to reports an 18 year old mane went under the water and never resurfaced. The body of the victim was recovered just shortly before 3 p.m. and was identified as Louis Angel Rodriguez of Rockmart. Rodriguez was swimming with friends, became fatigued, and slipped under the surface and did not come back up. (From WEIS and WRGA).
May 30: William Gregory ‘Greg’ McCary, 57, of Rome has been identified as the man who fell to his death Tuesday afternoon at Little River Falls. According to radio station WEIS: “The victim . . . was apparently taking photographs when he slipped and fells approximately 65 feet to his death. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s, Rescue Personnel, the DeKalb Ambulance Service and the Coroner’s Office from DeKalb and Cherokee Counties responded to the scene.”
FOR YOUR SAFETY
Little River Canyon National Preserve offered these safety tips after “three deaths and two near-drownings so far this year, along with several rescues. Natural areas can be dangerous. We want our visitors to come have fun, and go home safely.
Stay away from the edge of the cliffs. Do not cross handrails.
The area around the top of Little River Falls is closed 50 feet back from the edge whether the water is up or not. You can be ticketed for being in a closed area, with fines up to $280.
Rocks in the park are slippery and uneven.
The current above the falls can carry people over the cliff in seconds.
Hidden dangers can be in the water. Drop-offs, rocks, swift currents, and underwater debris can interrupt your fun in a bad way.
When playing in the river, never swim alone. Wear your personal floatation devices when you are in or near the water. Do not swim at high water levels. Watch your children in or near the water and keep them away from the edges of cliffs.
You can make your visit much more enjoyable by staying hydrated – drink plenty of water. Bring snacks. Wear walking shoes, not flip-flops or dress shoes. Use sunscreen to protect your skin. Watch out for insect nests, snakes and bears. Be aware of approaching storms. Drugs and alcohol are illegal in the park. These greatly increase your likelihood of having an accident.