Boat gets sucked into Tennessee dam spillway, killing angler onboard, officials say

As reported by Makiya Seminera – Charlotte Observer

Two men were pulled into a Tennessee dam spillway while they were fishing, officials say. One of the men was killed. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two anglers fishing below a Tennessee dam were thrown from their boat after being pulled into the spillway, killing one, officials say. The two men were fishing near Fort Loudoun Dam on Tuesday, Sept. 26, when their boat was sucked into the dam’s spillway and capsized, “sending both men into the water,” the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told McClatchy News in an email.

One of the men was “quickly rescued by another angler” in another boat, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said, but the other man was found later by the dam’s workers and died. Both men were wearing life jackets when they were thrown from the boat, the agency said. The boat was later recovered and “has been taken by wildlife officers for an analysis,” the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said.

The agency said it will not release the identity of the man who was killed in the incident until Wednesday, Sept. 27. An investigation is ongoing. A similar incident occurred in 2020 when two fishermen were pulled into the Fort Loudoun dam spillway after their boat’s engine failed, as reported by WBIR. One man was killed, but bystanders rescued the other man.

Multiple deaths have been reported onFort Loudoun Lake within the past few years. In August, two bodies were found in the water within two days, WBIR reports. The dam is a “hydroelectric facility” that stretches across the Tennessee River and is about 30 miles southwest of Knoxville. The Fort Loudoun reservoir is a popular fishing and boating spot, and the “tailwater area immediately below the dam is an excellent site for viewing a variety of waterbirds,” the Tennessee Valley Authority said.

Safety issues on the lake caused the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission to create a “no wake” zone in the area, WATE reports. No wake zones are areas where boats must go at a wake speed that is “not sufficient to cause possible injury or damage to other persons, boats, or property,” according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.