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Dyersburg man dies in drowning incident in Missouri

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Dyersburg man died on Saturday after drowning at a popular river destination in Missouri.

Eugene Smith, 26, was pronounced dead by the Carter County, Mo. coroner at 4:26 p.m. after divers found his body in a spot on the Current River.

A preliminary report released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol states Smith was attempting to swim across the river at a location approximately 1.5 miles north of Van Buren, Mo.

Witnesses reported Smith appeared to struggle halfway across the river in a swift current. He then went under and did not resurface.

Troopers with the water-patrol division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol along with state troopers, a Missouri conservation officer and park-service personnel implemented a dragging and diving operation to recover the body.

The victim was found in 15 feet of water by divers and was pronounced dead at the scene by Carter County Coroner Eric McSpadden.

The report states Smith was not using a safety device at the time of the incident, which was the only fatal drowning reported in the state by the Missouri State Highway Patrol over the holiday weekend.

The National Park Service states over 1 million people come to canoe, camp, hike and fish every year on the Current River.

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