Man drowns in Little Bear Creek

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) - A man drowned while swimming just outside of Tuscumbia Sunday morning.

Alabama Marine Police confirm  Eric Willingham went missing while swimming in  Little Bear Creek, west of Tuscumbia and south of US Highway 72.

After searching for more than two hours, emergency crews retrieved the body of the  42-year-old Colbert County man around 2:00 p.m. The Colbert County coroner confirmed Willingham drowned and will not conduct an autopsy.

Crews found his body in 13 feet of water.  Authorities say Willingham was swimming with his wife and child when he went under and never resurfaced. "Within 20 minutes of the divers going down from Colbert County EMA we was able to locate the subject that was missing," Alabama Marine Police Officer Josh Bradford said.  The call for help went out around 9:30.

"Upon response there was already rescue squads from Colbert County assisting us with the search, and we put a side scan sonar and divers on standby," Officer Bradford said.

Marine police say this area is a popular swimming and fishing hole.

Officials said they aren't sure what caused Willingham to drown.  "He was just out with his family enjoying the day swimming with his wife and her daughter and decided to take a swim and you never can tell you know in the water," Officer Bradford said.  "We've asked and we've talked to the family and it just seems like it was a terrible accident where the subject went down."

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