Crews continue search for man who drowned at Elk River Falls

BANNER ELK, N.C. — Avery County officials are trying to find a man who drowned at Elk River Falls.

An Ohio man in his 20s, who was down for a wedding, went under while wading at the bottom of the falls Sunday.

He came to the falls after going to a wedding in Asheville.

He was wading in water when the swirling water pulled him under.

Students from Appalachian State University, who were also visiting the falls, tried desperately to save him.

"There were four students from Appalachian,” Larry Cuthbertson, with Linville Central Rescue, said. “They dove in and made a chain and caught him by the hand but could not hold onto him. And then the next time, he came up. He was about 30 to 40 feet out in the pool of water."

Firefighters from Boone searched downstream on Tuesday.

Crews tried to use a side sonar scanner but the current was too strong from all the rain. With more rain in the forecast, there is concern about the holiday weekend in the High Country.

Rescuers said there have been 14 drownings at the falls over the last 15 years.

The latest victim's name has not been released.