Drowning at Lewis Bluff ruled accidental, rescue squad worker says area is dangerous

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Sheriff Ana Franklin confirmed a drowning at Lewis Bluff in Morgan County Monday evening.

She said the victim, a 20-year-old Andrew Harrison, was with several other people jumping off the bluff and swimming in the river below early Monday evening when he went under and never resurfaced. She says someone swimming with him attempted to get him out, but couldn't find him.

A rescue squad recovered the body around 8 p.m.  Morgan County coroner Jeffrey Chunn said the cause of death was accidental drowning. He said Harrison went under the surface of the water then resurfaced and tried to hold onto the bank, but had been having a hard time breathing and must have given out and drowned. Harrison's friends attempted to jump in and rescue him, but were unsuccessful.

Rescue squad workers told us there have been two fatalities and several injuries there this summer. Morgan County Rescue Squad Chief Danny Kelso says the area is deep, but the bottom is lined with big rocks and boulders. He added that there is an undertow and swift current there that amplifies the danger.

Additionally, it's a hard area to access for rescuers, due to a rock wall surrounding the area. The only way for rescuers to get there is by boat.

Kelso says there is a public beach just a few miles down the road. He said he encourages people to go there instead of the bluff.