Note: This story was last updated at 8:50 p.m.
NORRIS—A fisherman who fell overboard on the Clinch River below Norris Dam on Sunday afternoon has his nephew to thank for quick action that undoubtedly saved his life, officials said.
Cecil Branscom, 70, of Dublin, Virginia, and his nephew Scott Branscom, 48, of Knoxville, launched their boat at Peach Orchard Access Area on the Clinch River on Sunday afternoon and headed upstream toward Norris Dam. When they reached the weir dam at around 2 p.m., they prepared to begin fishing when the boat’s engine hit a rock in the water, sending Cecil overboard from the front of the vessel into 48-degree water.
Scott Branscom managed to get his uncle back into the boat. Cecil Branscom was wearing several layers of clothing that was saturated from the frigid water, and he was not wearing a life jacket, the press release said.
Realizing that a boat ride back to the boat launch would likely be too time-consuming, Scott Branscom dialed 911, and Anderson County Emergency Medical Services met them at Miller’s Island Access Area.
By this time, Cecil was suffering from hypothermia and was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where he is being treated and is recovering well, the press release said.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Officer Jason Lankford is investigating the incident.
“The quick actions of his nephew and the quick response of Anderson County EMS likely saved Mr. Branscom’s life,” Lankford said. “Falling into that frigid water alone would have made it nearly impossible for him to get back into the boat and get help quickly.”
The incident remains under investigation by TWRA.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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