NORRIS (WATE) – A fisherman from Knoxville saved his 70-year-old uncle from the frigid waters of the Clinch River in Anderson County on Sunday afternoon, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Cecil Branscom, 70, from Dublin, Virginia, and his nephew Scott Branscom, from Knoxville, launched their boat from Peach Orchard Access Area upstream toward the TVA Norris Dam. When they reached the dam around 2 p.m. they were going to start fishing, but the boat’s engine drug on a rock sending Cecil Branscom overboard into 48-degree waters.
Scott Branscom was able to get his uncle back into the boat. Cecil Branscom was wearing several layers of clothing, but was not wearing a life jacket. Because he realized the boat trip back to shore would take too long, Scott Branscom called 911 and Anderson County EMS met them at Miller’s Island Access Area.
By that time, Cecil Branscom was suffering from hypothermia and was sent to UT Medical Center for treatment.
“The quick actions of his nephew and the quick response of Anderson County EMS likely saved Mr. Branscom’s life,” said TWRA Wildlife Officer Jason Lankford. “Falling into that frigid water alone would have made it nearly impossible for him to get back into the boat and get help quickly.”
The incident remains under investigation.