A section of Little River Road in the Great Smoky Mountains national park will be partially closed Saturday as the park service commences searching for the bodies of a woman who entered Little River and was swept away while refusing to allow a ranger rescue her.
While a park ranger was on patrol along the Little River he observed a white female approximately in her 30's sitting on a rock at the edge of the river. Since her behavior was unusual the ranger decided to check on her at which time she stood up and jumped into the raging river swollen and flooded from earlier today's heavy rains.
The Great Smoky Mountains national park ranger followed her as she was swept down the river and attempted to rescue her by throwing her a life line and float which she picked up and purposely tossed aside.
Little River Road was closed today from the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area to the Townsend Wye as park rangers and first responders from Gatlinburg's Rescue Squad and Rural Metro Ambulance swarmed the area searching in vain for the women.
Rangers during daylight searched all along the riverbanks of the Little River which was running chocolate brown and loaded with debris. They also set up a vantage point by an area called the Sinks further down river from where the lady entered the water in an attempt to intercept the victim if she floated by.
Today's heavy rains also flooded Cades Cove along Sparks Lane, Hyatt Lane as some other stream crossing prompting the park service to Close Cades Cove Loop Road creating a traffic nightmare at the Townsend Wye.
While working traffic management at the Townsend Wye with 2 other volunteers in the park our park vehicle was struck by a pickup truck transporting kayaks. No injuries were sustained although the back door was taken off the park service's jeep Cherokee used by Volunteers in Cades Cove.
Because Cades Cove Loop Road was closed tonight's very popular 3 mile night hike in Cades Cove with Ranger Mike which crosses a stream on Spark Lane that is to rough to cross today was canceled leading to many disappointed park visitors.
Cades Cove may reopen tomorrow if flood water subside enough.
Despite the extremely flooded conditions of Little River the kayakers pictured below were still out in force even past sunset. Expect the Great Smoky Mountains national park to have many kayakers and extreme tubers enjoy the flooded Little River tomorrow and throughout the weekend.