Death on Cumberland River raises questions about river's safety

Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 10:37:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a man's death on the Cumberland River, some are warning of the dangers of swimming in the waterway.

The Nashville Fire Department found the body of the man they say jumped into the Cumberland River from the riverbank Saturday afternoon. However, the circumstances surrounding the death are unclear.

David Whiteside with TN Riverkeeper said entering the water can be dangerous due to commercial traffic in the area as well as if visibility is low.

"Swimming under dark conditions or when it's getting dark is very dangerous for the swimmer," he said. "If something, god forbid, happens to the swimmer, rescue efforts at night are certainly more complicated and have a lower success rate than during the day."

Others who work in river recreation said the policy is to always wear a life jacket.

"The water is pretty dark too," said Will McGee of Cumberland Kayak. "Swimming in this is actually really dangerous because it doesn't take much for it to pull you farther out or farther along than you were trying to go."

Whiteside said he also has concerns about the cleanliness of the water there.

Officials say four other people also jumped in the water to try and save the man, but were unable to do so. Two of them were brought to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.