A 16-year-old girl apparently drowned Monday afternoon after she and two companions went swimming in the South Fork River at High Shoals. Just before 4 PM (Monday June 24th) the Gaston County Communications Center received a call that a female had jumped off the South Fork River Bridge on Old US 321 (US 321 business) at High Shoals.
Responders from Gaston Emergency Medical Service, Dallas Rescue Squad, North Gaston Fire and Rescue, Gaston County Police, Gaston County Emergency Management, the Gaston County Fire Marshal’s Office, Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia Fire Department, Agriculture Center Volunteer Fire Department, Ranlo Fire and Rescue, Spencer Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, and Lincoln County Swift Water Rescue responded to the scene and learned that three teenage girls had been swimming in the river near the dam. Two girls were immediately located and brought to safety; both were uninjured. A search for the third girl was immediately begun and her body was located a short time later but recovery was hampered by the swift current of the river. Police say it appears to be an accidental drowning.
Investigators from the Gaston County Police Department determined that the teenagers had been swimming in the river and exploring the rocky area downstream from the bridge when the incident occurred. Police said the deceased teen is from Lincolnton but no name was released Monday evening. They said she slipped and fell into the water and no one is believed to have jumped off the bridge as was initially reported.
UPDATE: the effort to recover her body was postponed when a severe thunderstorm struck the area shortly before 10 PM; it will resume Tuesday at 8 AM.
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