Missing Swimmer Located in South Fork River
On Tuesday, June 11, 2016 at approximately 7:00am the Gaston County 911 Communications Center received report a male standing on an island in the South Fork River at the Stanley Spencer Mountain Rd. Bridge. First responders utilizing swift water rescue teams were able to extract the teenager from the river and he was transported to Caromont Regional Medical Facility where he was treated and released. During the rescue responders learned that a second teenager, Ethan Britt was also missing. Rescuers subsequently learned that both teenagers had gone swimming in the South Fork River the night before around 8:00pm. The river at that time was flooding and near its crest of 14.1 feet.
An extensive search of the river began which included a helicopter and drones, crews searching the river banks on foot, and numerous swift water teams searching the river by boat. On Wednesday, crews again searched the river throughout the day by air, on the ground, and in the water. On Thursday, crews continued searching the river with drones, with crews on foot checking anything that was observed by air. A search of Lake Wylie was also conducted by boat utilizing canines.
On Friday, June 14, 2019 teams again searched the South Fork River. Responders from the Gaston Emergency Medical Service, Spencer Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Ranlo Fire and Rescue, Gaston County Police Department, Stanley Rescue, Mooresville Fire and Rescue, Denver Fire Department, SC Search and Rescue Team, New Hope Fire Department, and the North Carolina Center for Exploited and Missing Children began search operations utilizing ground, air, and water search teams that included sonar capabilities as well as specially trained canine units.
It is with great sadness that we report that at approximately 12pm today a body presumed to be Ethan Britt pending official identification was located just below the Spencer Mountain Dam below where he was last seen in the water.
Please continue to pray for Ethan, his family, and our responders during this difficult time.
For further information contact W.S. Melton, Jr., Public Information Officer, Gaston County Office of Emergency Management, at 704-862-8982.