Note: This story was updated at 10 a.m. July 4.
A Knoxville man drowned after jumping from a houseboat into Norris Lake on Saturday evening, authorities said.
The man has been identified as William E. Blasius, 19.
The drowning was reported at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near Sequoyah Marina in Andersonville.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded.
“Several houseboats had tied off together and to the shore as they gathered to watch the fireworks show at the marina,” said Mark Lucas, chief deputy of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. “Sheriff’s investigators responded to the scene and are looking into the possibility Blasius may have hit another boat as he dove into the water.”
His body was recovered about an hour later by divers from the Anderson County Rescue Squad, the Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Lucas said.
Other agencies that responded were Anderson County EMS, Anderson County Rescue Squad, Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Andersonville Fire Department, and the Claxton Fire Department. Sheriff’s chaplains were also called to the scene for family and friends.
“This case is still under investigation, and there is no additional information available at this time,” Lucas said.
The Knoxville News Sentinel has identified Blasius as the son of Wayne Blasius, executive director of the East Tennessee Community Design Center and former deputy community development director for the city of Knoxville.
The drowning was reported just a few hours before the start of Fire on the Water at Sequoyah Marina, the largest private Independence Day fireworks show in Tennessee. There were thousands of people at the show on the shore, in boats on the water, and in boats docked at the marina.
See previous story here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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