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Drowning victim found in Big Creek area

Emergency responders stage a search at Big Creek. Emergency responders stage a search at Big Creek. NPS photo

Emergency responders have found the body of a 25-year-old man reported missing at 7:36 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, after falling into the water at Midnight Hole in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials and multiple assisting emergency response agencies located Yogesh Patel of Oak Forest, Illinois, at 12:09 p.m. on September 15. Rescue divers discovered him under 18 feet of water and emergency responders removed him shortly before 1 p.m. 

Patel was reported missing after he reportedly fell into the water at Midnight Hole and was observed struggling.  Bystanders attempted to pull Patel from the water but were not successful. 

Agencies assisting in the recovery operation and investigation included Haywood Country Emergency Management Agency, Haywood County Rescue Squad, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Haywood County Emergency Medical Services, Fines Creek Fire Department, Jonathan Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Clyde Fire Department, Newport Rescue Squad, Center Pigeon Fire and Rescue, Henderson County Rescue Squad and Dive Team, Asheville Rescue Squad and Dive Team and Cherokee Tribal Medical Examiner’s Office.

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