Brothers Chris and Lebron Hurt and fisherman Jeremy Richardson were the drowning victims at Ketner’s Mill in Marion County on Thursday evening.
Lebron Hurt, 26, was a welder. Chris Hurt was 23 and left behind a daughter.
Jeremy Richardson had four children.
He was 35.
The funerals will be at Tate Funeral Home in Jasper.
The visitation for all three will be Tuesday from 2-8 p.m. There will also be visitation for Jeremy Richardson on Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.
The service for the Hurt brothers will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. and for Mr. Richardson will be Wednesday at 5 p.m.
There is one surviving Hurt brother, Charles Hurt.
The powerful current from a low-head dam trapped all three in a cyclical roll, preventing escape or rescue. The third body was recovered a mile and a half downstream at 9:30 a.m. CDT.
Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Lamb said, “It’s like being caught in a washing machine.”
Despite looking placid from the surface, as water spills over the dam it rolls at the base of the dam, creating a strong and hazardous current.
According to Mr. Lamb, the Hurt brothers were swimming above the small dam on floats when one got too close and was swept over the top. He realized that he was trapped and called for his brother, who followed him over to assist.
Mr. Richardson was fishing with a friend downstream when he saw both of the brothers go over and rushed to try to save them. He extended a board for them to grab onto, but after realizing it was too short, he dove in and was caught in the current as well.
Volunteers and employees from the TWRA, Whitwell Fire Department, Marion County Rescue, and Hamilton County STARS, along with several others, were still on location Friday afternoon looking for the third body though two were retrieved Thursday night.
Workers searched an area of about one mile downstream, but since it was impossible to get close to the dam without risking injuries or death, an underwater robot was deployed to search the turbulent waters for the deceased.
The incident on Thursday was only a day after a similar situation in which a 34-year-old man was caught in the same undertow. Fortunately, an 18-year-old, Bryan Pruitt was fishing on site and had adequate training from being a Boy Scout to jump in the water and get the man to safety.
Ketner’s Mill has been a long time hotspot for locals to spend time with friends and family, fish, or swim, despite the danger of being in close proximity to the dam.
Mr. Lamb said that at least one person drowns every year near this location or by the dam at Nickajack Lake nearby.
He also said that low-head dams have been an issue all across the country since thousands of them are still in place from when they were used to power gristmills. Everywhere is the same story - dangerous currents created by leftover constructions, he said.
When asked what could be done about furthering public safety, Mr. Lamb said that there is not much that could be done since the waterways themselves are public. There are signs on both banks explaining the danger, but some simply do not take necessary precautions.
EMA hopes to educate the public on potential hazards like this in order to reduce the number of needless tragedies and the organization will be hosting seminar and education sessions in the next several months to that end.
Mr. Lamb had said he and his peers would keep going back as long as it would take to bring closure to the distraught families.