Wayne County resident Bulmaro Morales, 32, jumped into the Oconaluftee River behind the Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee to save a juvenile family member in distress, witnesses reported. When rangers arrived on the scene around 5:20 p.m. Saturday, June 27, the juvenile was safely on shore but Morales had not resurfaced.
Rangers and bystanders immediately launched a search, and Morales was found unresponsive about 10 feet underwater. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.
Cherokee EMS and Cherokee Fire and Rescue assisted with the effort.