BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - UPDATE: A spokesperson with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has released the name of Saturday's drowning victim.
17-year-old Amber Rose Mirisola from Mount Dora, Florida, died from the drowning incident at "The Sinks" along the Little River.
BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Rescue workers have recovered the body of a 17-year-old girl - the victim of an apparent drowning - pushed underwater by the force of a waterfall.
It happened in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at a popular swimming area known as "The Sinks" - just 10 miles west of Gatlinburg - along the Little River.
Rescue workers were called to the area about 3:30 Saturday afternoon when the teen, who was from Florida, was swept over the 15-foot waterfall. Witnesses say she had been wading in ankle deep water and was attempting to wade across the river above the falls when she lost her footing and was swept over.
Park officials say she became entrapped in chest-deep water at a crevice at the bottom of the falls and was held underwater by the force. The rescue was a complicated effort that involved a rope and pulley system.
"You've gotta shelf down there and what happens is you get stuck underneath the shelf and basically you gotta be able to come out the same way you came in," explained TN District Ranger Steve Kloster with GSMNP. "So, if you slid down this way - that's the way we gotta bring you back up and out; so it's very difficult for people at the bottom of the falls to try and pull them out."
Some visitors had formed a human chain to try and free the young woman but the force of the water was too great, according to Park officials. There are signs posted at "The Sinks' about the danger of the falls and warns visitors to use caution.
Several agencies assisted in the rescue including divers in the Blount County Sheriff's Office and Townsend Volunteer Fire Dept. - with assistance from the Blount County Fire Dept. and Rural Metro Ambulance.
Park officials have not released an identity on the 17-year-old but said she was visiting the area from Florida.
Divers from several agencies and Rangers from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are searching for a body - the victim of an apparent drowning.
Bob Miller with the National Park says rescue crews have been looking for a juvenile female for two hours. She had gone swimming in a popular water area known as "The Sinks." A witness on the scene says it appears the girl slipped on some rocks and fell into the rapids.