Swimming Ends in Tragedy on the South Fork River
Just before 4pm on June 24, 2019 the Gaston County 911 Communications Center received a call that a female had jumped off the South Fork River Bridge on Old US 321 in the town of High Shoals located in northern Gaston County.
Responders from Gaston Emergency Medical Service, Dallas Rescue Squad, North Gaston Fire and Rescue, Gaston County Police, Gaston County Emergency Management and Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and learned that three teenage girls had been swimming in the river near the dam. Two girls were immediately located and brought to safety and both were uninjured. A search for the third 16 year old female was immediately begun and she was located a short time later. Recovery of this teenager is currently ongoing after what appears to be an accidental drowning.
Other agencies that responded to assist include Gastonia Fire Department, Agriculture Center Volunteer Fire Department, Ranlo Fire and Rescue, Spencer Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, Lincoln County Swift Water Rescue.
At this point, investigators from the Gaston County Police Department have determined that the teenagers had been swimming in the river and exploring the rocky area downstream from the bridge when the incident occurred. Indications at this point are that the teen from Lincolnton, NC slipped and fell into the water and no one is believed to have jumped off the bridge as was initially reported.
The Gaston County Police Department is the primary investigative agency on this incident. For further information contact Sgt. M.S. Hensley, Gaston County Police Department at 704-866-3320.