Ketner Mill area scene of drowning as search begins Friday night

Recovery made early afternoon Saturday

Whitwell, Tenn. – The dam area near Ketner’s Mill spanning across the Sequatchie River has claimed another victim. On June 10, a Friday afternoon fun outing turned tragic as a 19-year-old man drowned near the dam. Local search entities, including the Marion County Emergency Management Agency (“EMA”) and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (“MCSO”) launched a search for the man Friday afternoon. The victim was recovered mid-Saturday afternoon by EMA.

The Ketner Mill low head dam has a morose reputation for being mortal to swimmers. Friday’s victim, Landon Poe, is only the most recent victim of the dam’s powerful current. With the multiple deaths in the area, there are also stories of close calls as far away from the dam as 30 feet from the artificially serene setting. 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. Dueling eyewitness accounts had Poe remaining close to the dam attempting to stay above water and that he was floating face down further away from the dam.

A search for Poe started Friday afternoon and continued until 1:30 am Saturday. The search recommenced Saturday and ultimately, at around 2:30 pm, were successful in recovering Poe’s body. Steve Lamb, EMA Director, said, “We’ve had some help with some sonar equipment from other agencies, and we did a pretty extensive search, but obviously with no early findings.” Lamb extended the county’s thanks for the outside agencies that assisted with the recovery. Poe’s body was transported and was expected to be prepared for a positive ID.

Periodic Updates leading to the final story:

****Update 6/11/22 2:54 pm***** A body has been recovered at the scene and being transported for a positive ID. Multiple social media postings identify the victim as Landon Poe of Whitwell.*****

***** Update 6/11/ 1:41 pm******  The search continues for the remains of a 19-year-old male that was reportedly pulled under by the force of the dam at Ketner’s Mill. The victim was walking on the low head dam and allegedly made it to the opposite side. When he attempted to walk back over the dam he fell and was overwhelmed by the water’s force at the dam’s base.

Crews were out until 1:30 Saturday morning looking for the teen. Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Lamb said, “We’ve had some help with some sonar equipment from other agencies, and we did a pretty extensive search, but obviously with no findings.” Lamb says conflicting eyewitness accounts have resulted in a wide search field. EMA planned on continuing the search Saturday until close to dark to safely get search equipment stowed away in case efforts didn’t result in a finding before then. ********

Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) reports it has started a search for a suspected drowning victim near Ketner’s Mill. The area has claimed multiple lives enjoying the recreational attraction of the site through the years.

The search continued into Friday night. The male victim’s name is being withheld pending further notification.

3 responses to “Ketner Mill area scene of drowning as search begins Friday night”

  1. Jenni Veal says:

    Mr. Poe is one of MANY drowning victims through the years at the low head dam on the Sequatchie River at Ketner’s Mill in Whitwell, TN.

    In 2020, TWRA provided free safety signage to placed at the dam, but the owner has not installed them. This dam be modified or removed for public safety issues – too many young people have drowned there for this drowning hazard to remain in the water.

    Something needs to be done before anyone else drowns at this site – enough is enough.

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