Dangerous Dam At Ketner's Mill Has Claimed Too Many Young Lives

Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Something must be done about the dangerous low head dam at Ketner’s Mill on the Sequatchie River in Whitwell, Tn. (Marion County). 

This dam is a dangerous public safety hazard that has claimed the lives of many young people through the years. It seems to me to be grossly negligent for the owner of this dam (which no longer serves any purpose) to continue to allow unknowing victims to drown at this site.

I just learned that on June 11 another life was lost - a 19-year-old youth from Whitwell drowned in the deadly hydraulics below the dam.

Despite the numerous drownings that have taken place at the dam through the years, no remediation efforts seem to have been made by the Chattanooga property owner to modify or remove the dam or to post safety signage warning visitors of the dangers of the dam’s hydraulics.

This dam should be modified or removed - or improved safety measures should be taken - to stop the needless loss of life that is taking place at this hazardous site in Marion County.

Here is an incomplete list of the drownings that have taken place at the Ketner’s Mill low head dam on the Sequatchie River in recent years:

2022

On June 11, 2022, Landon Poe, a 19-year-old man from Whitwell, Tenn., drowned at Ketner’s Mill Dam. Reportedly, Poe walked across the top of the dam and was on his way back when he entered the river on the “bottom” of the dam. 

2018

In July 2018, a 38-year-old father of two, Daniel Atkinson, drowned at the site after paddling close to the dam and getting pulled under. His wife and two daughters were on the beach during the tragedy.

2015

In July 2015, three men drowned at the dam. The first victim, Charles Hurt, was in the water when he began having difficulty and was swept over the low head dam. His brother, LeBron Hurt, jumped in to save him, but wound up struggling in the turbulent water, as well. Both men were in their 20's. A third man, Jeremy Richardson, 36, jumped into the water to help and also drowned.

2004

In January 2004, Jeff Mann (age 33) of Signal Mountain, drowned at the Ketner’s Mill low-head dam.

There are many others who have drowned at this low head dam at Ketner’s Mill through the years. I will be doing some research in the Marion County archives to get their names.

Jenni Veal


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