A Roswell, GA man drowned Thursday while on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, authorities said.
The body of Jitendra Patel, 59, was recovered at 8:22 p.m. Thursday near Abrams Falls, said Dana Soehn, a spokeswoman for the park.
Patel was hiking with friends and reportedly slipped into the water near the falls about 12:10 p.m., according to a media release from the park.
Patel was taking photos near the base of the waterfall and slipped, Soehn said. “The base of the waterfall area is generally very wet from the spray of the water, which can make the rocks slippery,” she said.
Park rangers arrived at 2:08 p.m, but were unable to locate Patel. Divers with the Blount (County) Special Operations Response Team responded about 5 p.m. to lead the recovery effort.
Swimming in the pool at the base of the falls is “extremely dangerous” because of strong currents and an undertow, according to the Abrams Falls portion of the Great Smoky Mountains website. The website also warns visitors that drownings have happened.
Soehn said Friday morning that park officials are interviewing witnesses to the accident.