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Regional & National

Man slips from tube, drowns in Smoky Mountains river

July 12th, 2011 12:09 pm by Staff Report

GATLINGBURG (AP) — A Texas man has drowned while swimming in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Witnesses told park rangers that Dick Chijioke of Plano, Texas, was tubing with his family Monday morning when he slipped from a rental tube in the Little River near Townsend, Tenn. The 34-year-old man didn't resurface after disappearing in a 12-foot-deep section of the river.

A park spokeswoman said other people who were in the river tried to rescue Chijioke, but couldn't find him in the water.

An underwater rescue team from Blount (BLUNT') County located his body about two hours after he disappeared. Chijioke was pronounced dead at Blount Memorial Hospital.

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