October 5, 2006
By ERICA ESTEP 6 News Reporter
SEVIERVILLE - Frank Gordon was driving by the French Broad River behind his Sevierville home Thursday when he noticed rescue crews racing to the river bank. As Gordon tells 6 News what happened, he looks over the river. The French Broad is swift Friday, but it's nothing compared to the violent churning that tossed two fishermen overboard a day earlier. "He got caught up on that little ridge of rocks, tipped over and the gentleman was lucky enough to get to the island. The boat and the other gentleman went on down the river," Gordon says.
Sixty-one-year-old Ralph Huskey was plucked from tiny Bingham Island by rescue teams. "He was stumbling about somewhat. Every once in awhile, he would grab onto a limb and then he would kind of like get in the water a little bit and then come back out," Gordon recalls. Gordon captured home video of rescue crews searching for the other boater, 65-year-old Eugene Wise, by land, water and sky. "It was sad to see the wife of the man that died standing here in tears worrying. She was pretty much in hysterics most of the time. She wanted to jump in the water and go after him." Wise died in the rushing water. His body found near a golf course about four miles downstream. "It's a real shame," Gordon says. "I'm surprised that two people didn't end up dying. Unfortunately, the one man didn't make it."
Huskey, seen in Gordon's home video, was flailing his arms while explaining to police what happened. Then he was handcuffed and taken to jail. "Just out to have a good time, out to have a good time, why they picked this area is beyond me. What started out to be a little pleasure trip for them was a really bad ending," Gordon says.