Whitewater Falls accident leads to death of a child

Yesterday at 5:50 p.m., the Jackson County Emergency Management 911 Center received a call reporting a 3-year-old child visiting Whitewater Falls with her family had been swept away in the water at the top of the falls and the current had carried the child over the falls.

Top tier of Whitewater Falls.

Emergency responders from Jackson, Transylvania, Haywood, Henderson, and Oconee counties were dispatched to the falls and rescue operations to locate the child were initiated.

Crew tasked with recovery operations late Sunday evening at Whitewater Falls, which continued into Monday morning.

Just prior to night fall on Sunday, rescuers located the child deceased and entrapped in an area of the waterfall. Recovery operations throughout the night and early morning led to the child being recovered from the waterfall around 1 a.m. today.

JCSO Chief Deputy Matthew Wike chats with crews before they begin recovery operations.

The child has been identified as Nevaeh Jade Newswanger, age 3, of Denver, Pennsylvania. The Newswanger family has been residing in Oconee County, South Carolina while working in the area.

Recovery operations continued throughout the night into early morning.

Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall offered his condolences for the family and cautions others about the dangers associated with visits to scenic areas such as Whitewater Falls.

“First and foremost, our prayers are with the Newswanger Family as they grieve the loss of this precious young child,” said Sheriff Hall. “With the onset of spring weather we need to be reminded of the dangers associated with many scenic areas of the region such as waterfalls. While beautiful to view from a safe distance, venturing out closer to the falls for any reason brings tremendous danger. Always remain at a distance, follow safety precautions and warnings, which are in place, and view waterfalls from designated viewing areas.”

Pictured at the top of the article is Whitewater Falls on April 11, 2022
Article courtesy of Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

Photos by Brian O’Shea

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