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3rd drowning of year at Wilson’s Creek

COLLETTSVILLE – A 22-year-old man is the latest person to drown this summer in the dangerous current at Wilson’s Creek in Burke County.

Authorities with Collettsville Fire & Rescue and the U.S. Forest Service say the drowning was reported Monday afternoon near Brown Mountain Beach Resort. Rescue crews were called about 4:45 p.m., and the man’s body was found about 7 p.m.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim Wednesday as Elder Ortiz Velasquez.

Friends told authorities that Velasquez, who is from Guatemala, was not a good swimmer and got caught in the rapid current of the creek.

Authorities have warned swimmers to wear life vests or stay out of the water in recent weeks. Heavy rain this summer has increased the creek current, according to officials at Pisgah National Forest.

On July 27, two Charlotte-area residents were caught in the current and drowned. They were identified as Juan Alberdi, 48, of Huntersville, and Delilah Lovett, 10, of Charlotte.

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