North Carolina

Lightning slows recovery of teen who likely drowned in ‘treacherous’ river, NC cops say

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A lightning strike has slowed efforts to recover the body of a 16-year-old who likely drowned in a North Carolina waterway.

The teenager and two other girls on Monday afternoon were swimming near a dam in High Shoals when she “slipped and fell into the water” of the South Fork Catawba River, the Gaston County Police Department said in a news release.

“We tell people the South Fork River really isn’t a river you want to swim in,” said Bill Melton of Gaston County Emergency Management, according to the Gaston Gazette. “It’s a treacherous river.”

Officials say they lowered water levels and soon found the body of the 16-year-old, who hasn’t been identified, according to a news release obtained by McClatchy.

But then an overnight storm slowed their recovery efforts, police said in an updated news release.

Lightning knocked out a generator that was used to pump water from the river, according to authorities.

The incident “caused the water level to rise to the point responders are unable to proceed as originally intended until the generator is repaired,” police said.

“Strong currents” also impacted the recovery, WBTV reported.

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