Accident Database

Report ID# 85151

  • Unknown
  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Inexperience
  • High Water

Accident Description

18-year-old dies after kayak capsizes 

in Caney Fork River

by: WKRN Web Staff

Posted: Apr 29, 2018 

After a long search, crews have recovered the body of an 18-year-old kayaker who went missing on the Caney Fork River Saturday.  Crews responded to the river on Saturday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. after the teen, identified as Tyler Flanery, was reported missing. 

Authorities said Tyler and his father had put in their kayaks at the Happy Hollow access area and planned to take out at Betty’s Island access area downstream. Bystanders at the Betty’s Island area reported both men capsized their kayaks while trying to navigate toward the ramp take out.  Kevin Flanery was aided to shore, but Tyler missed the takeout and was swept downstream. Authorities said neither had lifejackets. 

Tyler’s body was found around 7:30 a.m. on the bank of the river. An autopsy will be performed. 

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Smith County Water Rescue is currently conducting a water rescue operation from both the Gordonsville boat ramp and the Betty's Island ramp looking for a capsized kayaker.

3/28/20 8:54 AM · 

Search operations continue today for a missing kayaker on the Caney Fork River. The kayaker went missing while kayaking with a group of individuals. The lifejacket was located inside the kayak.

FB 3/28/2020 · 

Mid afternoon the THP helicopter advised rescue personnel of a possible sighting from the air of a possible victim. Rescue personnel went to area of the river indicated by THP and did locate the body of the missing kayaker. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this time. We want to thank the TWRA and the Tennessee Highway Patrol for there assistance during this operation.

Center Hill dam was releasing in excess of 12,000 cfs all afternoon on 3/27/2020. This section is typically considered a class I section of the Caney Fork. The Caney Fork is known to have extremely cold water year round below the dam and it was particularly high this day.

Based of Facebook posts from Smith County Rescue Squad:

No known media coverage yet.

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