Accident Database

Report ID# 85152

  • Flush Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold Water
  • High Water
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

The Elk River is generally a class I River known to have extremely cold water year round. According to Elk River Adventures (local outfitter) flow from the Tims Ford Dam was over 3,000 cfs that day. Elk River Adventures considers 240 cfs to be safe for renters.

Body of missing 51-year-old canoer in Elk River located


by Kaylin Jorge, Fox 17 Nashville


Tuesday, March 17th 2020


GILES COUNTY, Tenn. (WZTV) — The body of a missing boater on the Elk River was recovered on Friday.


Robert C. Newsome, 51, of Elkton, was found after going missing on March 15, according to a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency press release. Newsome went missing when he failed to return after launching his canoe on the Elk River. Local rescue crews, the TWRA, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Alabama Water Rescue crews worked tirelessly for several days to locate Newsome.


The recovery took approximately one mile into Alabama. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed.



Tennessee Wildlife Resources Officials will continue the search for a missing 51-year-old paddler missing on the Elk River. Officials said the man put his canoe in the Elk River at Highway 31 in Giles County on Saturday. He was supposed to paddle, camp and return on Sunday. However, he was last heard from at 6 p.m. Saturday. 

The victim's canoe and cooler were located along the state line in Alabama waters. TWRA and Tennessee Highway Patrol searched by ground and by air on Monday. Search efforts were halted Monday when it got dark and will resume Tuesday.     



TWRA continues to search for missing canoer on Elk River


Derry London, Digital Content Manager, News 4, Nashville, TN


Posted Mar 19, 2020


Elk River at Highway 31 in Giles County, a canoer's last known location


ELKTON, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is continuing to search for a missing person who was in a canoe on the Elk River in Giles County. The search is expected to continue on Thursday if conditions on the river remain safe.


The TWRA said the 51-year-old launched the canoe in the Elk River at the Highway 31 bridge in Elkton on Saturday with the intention of camping on the river and taking out on Sunday. His last reported contact was 6 p.m. Saturday.


TWRA crews have searched the river during daylight hours since the report. Drones and sonar units were used on Wednesday. TWRA says that the water levels on the Elk had risen to a dangerous level by the time they'd received the missing call. They were unable to launch a search and rescue crew on the water.


Monday local crews and the TWRA began a ground search early Monday, and the Highway Patrol helicopter joined in to assist in the search overhead. The search was suspended Monday night once it got dark out.


TWRA says that they will be forced to limit their search to the ground until the water conditions improve.  Alabama Marine Police have been notified, but have not be able to search by boat for the same reason, due to heavy water flows in the Elk River.


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