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Man drowns at Abrams Falls in GSMNP


Divers recovered the body of a Georgia man from Abrams Creek Thursday night. Jitendra Patel, 59, had been hiking with friends when he reportedly slipped into the water at 12:10 p.m.

Friends tried to help him from the water, but he slipped under at about 12:15.

Park rangers said they arrived at the scene at 2:08 p.m. but weren't able to recover his body until 8:22 p.m., with the help of divers from the Blount Special Operations Response Team.

UPDATE: National Park Service authorities have been given the name of a man reported missing Thursday afternoon from the Abrams Falls area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

But they've found no trace of him, according to park spokeswoman Dana Soehn.

Divers have been sent to the scene.

Park officials received word at 1:07 p.m. that Jitendra Patel, 58, of Roswell, Ga., had slipped into water near the falls, a popular and easy hike off Cades Cove Loop Road.

It's believed he'd been under the water more than an hour.

"Park rangers responded to the scene at 2:08 p.m., but were unable to locate the individual who was last observed at the water surface at approximately 12:15 p.m.,," according to a release from Soehn.

Blount Special Operations Response Team divers were sent to the scene about 5 p.m. to see if they could recover Patel's body.

"No other information is available at this time," according to Soehn's Thursday night release.

PREVIOUS STORY: Authorities are responding to a possible drowning at Abrams Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

According to a park spokesperson, the officials received a report just after 1:00 p.m. on Thursday that an adult male had been under water for over 90 minutes. Park rangers were responding along with diverse from the Blount County Special Operations Response Team.

No other information was available.

Abrams Falls is a 2.5 mile hike from its trailhead in Cades Cove. The park's website describes the hike as moderate in difficulty, and includes a warning: "Due to strong currents and an undertow, swimming in the pool at the base of the falls is extremely dangerous. Swimmers have drowned here! Don't be the next victim!"

The waterfall is only about 20 feet high, but a lot of water cascades down into a deep pool at its base.

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