On Sunday, July 1, 2018, Avery County Emergency Personnel responded to a possible drowning at Elk River Falls at 5:05pm, according to Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye. Witnesses say that Nagarjuna Gogineni, age 32 and currently of Charlotte, NC, was swimming with friends at the base of Elk River Falls and after jumping into the water from the side, Gogineni seemed to struggle and went under and did not resurface.
By 7:00 pm, divers had recovered the body of Gogineni and it was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office in Lenoir.
This is the second death at Elk River Falls this spring/summer from just swimming in the water at the base of the falls and swimmers being caught in the strong undercurrents of the area, according to the Sheriff. Prior incidents resulting in death or injury have primarily been from jumping from the rocks above the falls into the water, but the two most recent have been from just swimming in the water at the base of the falls.
A video warning of the dangers of Elk River Falls can be seen below.