Ernest Lee Wade, 59, Dies In Kayaking Accident On The Collins River

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ernest Lee Wade, 59, from Warren County, lost his life while kayaking on the Collins River on Sunday, June 25. Mr. Wade was a resident of McMinnville.

 

Mr. Wade and Treyton R. Gritzinger, also from McMinnville, departed on a kayak trip from the Shellsford access area around 8 a.

m. on Sunday. After a half hour or so on the water, Mr. Gritzinger witnessed Wade strike a small overhanging tree. Mr. Wade, who was in a sit-a-top kayak, flipped and struggled to swim. Mr.Wade was not wearing a personal flotation device and neither man had one with them during their outing. After searching in the water for some time, Mr. Gritzinger called 911 from a nearby home.

 

The Warren County Sherriff’s Office received the call around 8:45 a.m. and TWRA was dispatched around 9:15 a.m. Warren County Rescue also responded to the call and located Mr. Wade in six to eight feet of water around 3:45 p.m. Mr. Wade’s body was taken to the Warren County Morgue.

Because of recent rains, water levels were elevated two to three feet above normal. Swift moving currents and murky water made recovery efforts more difficult.

 

TWRA Warren County Officer, Pete Geesling responded to the call. Mr. Geesling said, “It is always difficult to see the loss of a life. We can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a personal flotation device and checking conditions before heading out. Our thoughts are with Mr. Wade’s family.” 

 

There were four paddle-sport related deaths in 2016. For more information on boating or for the 2016 Tennessee Boating Incident Statistical Report visit tnwildlife.org.  



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