According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Ernest Lee Wade, a 59-year-old man from Warren County, lost his life while kayaking on the Collins River on Sunday, June 25. Wade was a current resident of McMinnville.
Wade and Treyton R. Gritzinger, also from McMinnville, departed on a kayak trip from the Shellsford access area around 8 a.m. After a half hour or so on the water, Gritzinger witnessed Wade strike a small overhanging tree. Wade, who was in a sit-a-top kayak, flipped and struggled to swim. Wade was not wearing a personal flotation device, and neither man had one with them during their outing. After searching in the water for some time, Gritzinger called 911 from a nearby home.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office received the call around 8:45 a.m., and TWRA was dispatched around 9:15 a.m. Warren County Rescue also responded to the call and located Wade in six to eight feet of water around 3:45 p.m. Wade’s body was taken to the Warren County morgue.
Because of recent rains, water levels were elevated two to three feet above normal. Swift moving currents and murky water made recovery efforts more difficult.TWRA Warren County Officer Pete Geesling responded to the call. Geesling stated, “It is always difficult to see the loss of a life. We can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a personal flotation device and checking conditions before heading out. Our thoughts are with Wade’s family.”
There were four paddle-sport related deaths in 2016.
For more information on boating or for the 2016 Tennessee Boating Incident Statistical Report visit tnwildlife.org.
WARREN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 59-year-old man died in Warren County while kayaking on the Collins River Sunday. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency reported Ernest Wade, of McMinnville, was kayaking with a friend around 8:30 a.m. when he struck a small, overhanging tree. His friend told investigators he saw Wade flip in his sit-a-top kayak and struggle to swim. After searching the water for Wade, his friend came ashore and called 911 from a nearby home.
The TWRA and the Warren County Rescue Squad began searching for Wade near the Shellsford Bridge. His body was recovered around 4 p.m. in an estimated six to eight feet of water. The Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Warren County EMS and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency assisted in the recovery.
The TWRA said neither Wade nor his friend were wearing personal flotation devices. “It is always difficult to see the loss of a life. We can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a personal flotation device and checking conditions before heading out. Our thoughts are with Wade’s family,” said TWRA Warren County officer Pete Geesling.
No additional information was released.