Pictured is Burton Greer, of Georgia, who was tragically killed while kayaking in the Linville Gorge on Saturday. Photo contributed/ Mark Zakutansky
by JONELLE BOBAK Staff Writer
Hickory Record
Updated  4/30/2018

The man who died while kayaking in the Linville Gorge on Saturday has been identified by officials with the United States Forestry Service. Burton Greer IV, 34, of Georgia, was kayaking with a friend near the Pinchin Trail in the Linville Gorge when his kayak became lodged in between rocks and overturned, said Wade Keener, a law enforcement officer with the USFS.

“The friend saw the victim go into this place and he became lodged up next to a rock and the water current took him under,” Keener said. With all the recent rain, Keener says the water levels have risen and were flowing at a higher rate of speed. “The water just kept pulling him under and the friend tried to pull him out and couldn’t,” he said. “So he ran up the trail to try and get the other kayakers to help him.”

By the time they got back, 20 minutes had gone by and the water eventually forced Greer down the stream. “They found him about an eighth of a mile down the stream and they pulled him out and started CPR,” Keener said. “The water just trapped him.” “The witness saw everything that happened,” he said.

Crews with emergency management services within Burke, Avery and McDowell counties were on scene until 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.

According to a post on the Burke County Search and Rescue Facebook page, the incident happened sometime after 6 p.m. Saturday, said a previous News Herald article. “Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends,” the post said. “Thank you to everyone who assisted with this tragic accident.”

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907. Follow her on Twitter at @MNH_JonelleB.