UPDATE: Rescue crews find body of 2-year-old boy at Cummins Falls
UPDATE: Rescue crews recovered the body of 2-year-old Steven Pierce at 7:15 Monday morning after Pierce was swept away in a flash flood at Cummins Falls around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
"They were exiting the gorge while the water was rising,"said J.R. Tinch. "They were attempting to cross the river and again to our knowledge while they were crossing the river, they were swept away."
Tinch, Assistant Chief Ranger of Tennessee State Parks, said 11 staff members were assigned to keep an eye on the water levels at the falls.
"Two minutes, you can imagine how quickly within two minutes how quickly water rising can occur," said Tinch. "As you can imagine the water rises incredibly fast down there. As soon as it hit that point all the rangers down there did immediately start evacuating people."
Derek Woolbright, Public Information Officer for Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, said 64 people were assisted by emergency crews.
"A total of 14 of those required swift water or rope evacuations," said Woolbright.
The Bledsoe County Rescue Squad posted on Facebook that they were called to assist in the search, asking followers to keep crew five in their prayers.
This is the second time in recent years that dozens of people had to be rescued at the falls. In 2017 a flash flood hit Cummins Falls and a 73-year-old woman died after being swept away.
A Sale Creek woman died during the search.
"It's the rain that falls in the watershed and all that rain that collects in the watershed it gathers quickly and rapidly," said Tinch. "And when it all joins the more force that comes down and the larger the water rises. It wasn't necessarily the rain fall on the park, it was the rain fall that occurred throughout the watershed."
PREVIOUS STORY: COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Officials say crews have found the body of a 2-year-old boy swept away by fast-moving water at Cummins Falls State Park in Tennessee.
News outlets report Jackson County Emergency Management officials said in a statement that the child's body was recovered Monday.
The agency said heavy rains on Sunday made conditions dangerous and led to more than 60 people being rescued at the popular swimming spot. Officials said the search for the boy began Sunday evening but was called off due to weather conditions and low lighting.
Agency spokesman Ethan Burris told news outlets that search efforts resumed at 6 a.m. Monday and crews found the body shortly after 7 a.m.
The boy's identity hasn't been released.
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PREVIOUS STORY: PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. — Several adults have been rescued from Cummins Falls in a swiftwater rescue operation in Putnam County, according to the Putnam County Rescue Squad.
A 2-year-old child is still missing, according to rescue crews.
The Putnam County Rescue Squad said rescue teams from Jackson, Putnam and White Counties and a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter are still searching the area.
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