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Two Drown in Wilson’s Creek This Weekend, N.C. Forest Service Discourages Swimming in Pisgah Right Now

By Jesse Wood

July 29, 2013. Two swimmers drowned in Wilson’s Creek this past weekend after rushing currents swept away 48-year-old Juan Alberdi of Huntersville and 10-year-old Delilah Lovett of Charlotte.

Alberdi and Lovett were part of a group of two families that were visiting the area together and were swimming in the “bathtub,” a moniker for a particular pool along Wilson’s Creek, at about 6:15 p.m on Saturday.

“Once they got in the water they weren’t in but just a few seconds and the current was so strong that it swept them away,” Captain Larry Price of the Collettsville Fire Department told WSCO-TV.com.

Kayakers found a deceased Lovett about an hour later downstream. The following afternoon, rescuers found Alberdi a quarter-mile from where he and Lovett were swept away.

Authorities said Wilson’s Creek was two feet above its normal level after it rained more than four inches in a short period of time before Lovett and Alberdi were swept away.

The U.S. Forest Service’s National Forests in North Carolina released a statement discouraging swimming due to high water levels Monday morning:

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is urging visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to avoid swimming in the creeks, rivers and streams until water levels recede.

Water levels are more than a foot above normal in some waterways. High water levels and strong currents pose a safety risk to visitors.

Three swimming-related fatalities have occurred in the Pisgah National Forest this month.

Visitors should also avoid climbing near waterfalls and be aware of the potential for flash flooding.

Forest officials are asking visitors to check the National Weather Service forecast before they leave home, and to be alert for changing weather conditions while visiting the forest. Devices like a weather radio, a terrestrial radio, a smart-phone app or a cell phone mobile alert can help visitors stay tuned-in before and during their outdoor activities.