Wayne County man drowns while saving child relative in NC river

Wayne County News

CHEROKEE, N.C. (WSPA) – A Wayne County man drowned after saving a child in Cherokee on Saturday.

At 5:20 p.m., Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers responded to a drowning in progress on the Oconaluftee River behind the Mountain Farm Museum.  

Rangers say witnesses reported that 32-year-old Bulmaro Morales, of Dudley “heroically jumped into the river” to save a young family member in distress.  

When rangers arrived at the scene, they said the child was safe on shore but Morales had not resurfaced.  

Rangers immediately joined with bystanders to search for Morales. He was found underwater, approximately 10-feet deep and unresponsive.  

Life-saving efforts were conducted but were unsuccessful, rangers said. Cherokee EMS and Cherokee Fire and Rescue assisted with the incident.   

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