Third drowning in 2013 occurs at Wilson Creek
by Anna Oakes
A 22-year-old man on Monday became the third victim to drown in Wilson Creek in northwestern Caldwell County this summer.
Authorities responded to the scene near Brown Mountain Beach Resort around 5 p.m. Monday, pulling the victim's body from the water at 6:43 p.m., according to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office. The man, Elder Ortiz, was a native Guatemalan visiting friends in the area, the reports stated.
The drowning marks the third in Wilson Creek and the fifth in the Pisgah National Forest this year, confirmed Stevin Westcott, U.S. Forest Service spokesman.
In late July, 48-year-old Juan Alberdi of Huntersville and 10-year-old Delilah Lovett of Charlotte drowned in Wilson Creek in an area close to Monday's incident. At that time, the Forest Service issued a warning urging visitors not to swim in the forest's creeks, rivers and streams until water levels receded. Area waterways have experienced flows greater than normal due to significant amounts of rain this summer.
"We are encouraging people to avoid swimming in areas where water levels are high and fast-moving," Westcott said Tuesday. "These conditions pose a serious risk to swimmers."
The Wilson Creek area -- popular for swimming, hiking, camping and mountain biking -- is accessible from the High Country via several roads in the Blowing Rock and Blue Ridge Parkway area.
should also avoid climbing near waterfalls and be aware of the potential for flash flooding. Forest
officials advise visitors to check the National Weather Service forecast before leaving home and to
be alert for changing weather conditions while visiting the forest.