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Accident Description

On December 1st three strong paddlers put in on Henderson Creek, a Class V upstream tributary of Richland Creek north of Chattanooga, TN. Since Henderson Creek was running, Class IV Richland Creek was going to be on the high side.

The biggest drop on Richland Creek is a class V. There is a tough high-water sneak, but that day it was blocked by a tree. The first paddler through the chute was knocked over by the tree and swam. The second paddler, Andrew Gamble, 31, was badly pinned on a rock under the log. The first paddler sprinted upstream and was able to reach Mr. Gamble by crawling out on the log. He pulled as hard as he could until he lost his balance and swam again. He ran back up and made a second attempt, this time working to release the kayak. The boat and Mr. Gamble came free and washed downstream. In the meantime, a third paddler called 911. Rescue teams found Mr. Gamble’s body a mile downstream.

From Clay Wright: So far I heard it was a solid local group on Henderson- an upstream trib that’s class 5, they came into the classic ‘Richland creek’ section - which is pumping when Hendy is in - and the high water line to one of the biggest rapids had a tree in it. Andrew Gamble is name I got but can’t find on fb except a photo credit from Bear so he’s a good boater. Was with Sam Manzer and Ted Hayes who know the runs.

One person dead in kayaking accident in Rhea County Sunday 

by WTVC - News Channel 9 Chattanooga TN 

Sunday December 1, 2019

RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. — TWRA Wildlife Officers confirm one person is dead on Richland Creek, near Back Valley Road in Rhea County. Officials say fast-moving waters with deep water holes of 8 feet to 10 feet made recovery efforts challenging. 

TWRA says three kayakers took to the water for a point to point trip along the section of the stream known for white water paddling after heavy rains. While kayaking, Andrew Gamble of Hamilton county was trapped under a log. Those with the man attempted to save him but were unable to do so.

Officials say the 31-year-old was wearing a life jacket. TWRA, The Rhea County Sheriff's Office, Rhea County Emergency Management and Tennessee State Parks remain on the scene. 


The Rhea County Sheriffs Department says they're investigating a kayaking accident in Laurel Snow State Natural Area in Dayton, Tennessee. It happened around 2 p.m. Sunday. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is currently on the scene.

Experienced kayaker who died in Richland Creek

was involved in Chattanooga outdoors community; remembered as positive, joyful

December 2nd, 2019 | by Mark Pace

Staff file photo by Tim Barber / Chattanooga Times Free Press — Oct 15, 2012 - Andrew Gamble, center, and Danny McSpadden run the rapids in the Bowater Pocket Wilderness Monday amidst early fall colors on North Chickamauga Creek.

Sunday's death of a paddler in Rhea County has been a stark reminder to those in the outdoors community of the perils faced in outdoor recreation, even for the most seasoned adventurers.  Andrew Gamble, 31, died while paddling with friends Sunday afternoon in Laurel-Snow State Natural Area.

Chattannooga Times Free Press

The seasoned paddler grew up in the Chattanooga area. He went to Red Bank High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He was known in the local paddling community as a highly-skilled and calculated whitewater kayaker.

"Andrew radiated positivity and taught us to enjoy life to the fullest," fellow paddler and close friend Eliot Berz said. "He had a unique ability to see past the everyday minutiae and focus on the worthwhile parts of life. He made the lives of everyone around him richer, and we were beyond lucky to have his friendship."

Gamble was involved in the local paddling and outdoors scene. He also served as a board member of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy. He was on a point-to-point paddling trip with two friends after recent heavy rain. He was trapped under a log in the current around 2 p.m. while paddling Henderson Creek into Richland Creek. The friends attempted to rescue him. However, rescue and eventual recovery efforts were difficult due to the fast-moving water and rough terrain, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Gamble was wearing a life jacket. The Rhea County Sheriff's Department received a report of a flipped kayak at 2:07 p.m. Sunday, according to TWRA. Rhea County Emergency Management and Tennessee State Parks assisted in recovering Gamble's body.