Body recovered at Buncombe Co. waterfall ID’d


BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – Buncombe County authorities have identified the body that was pulled out of the Reems Creek Falls just north of Asheville on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office officials said the body was identified as Sterlin Swinton, 28, of Asheville.

The search and recovery of Swinton’s body ended after more than 12 hours.

It’s still unclear what happened before the Swinton went into the waterfall.

A slew of Western North Carolina agencies answered a call for help from a group of people at Reems Creek Falls around 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Multiple fire and rescue teams have responded both from within Buncombe County and assistance from some neighboring counties.” Aaron Sarver, PIO for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, told 7News.

The search for a person turned into a recovery, according to officials.

Crews were staged at the North Buncombe quarry.

French Broad Chief Matthew Shelton said rescuers tried to recover the victim’s body beneath the waterfall Tuesday night, before clearing the scene around midnight due to it being too dark.

Crews picked back up on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Shelton said rescuers — including Henderson County and Asheville Fire Department dive teams —  were helping in the recovery.

Search and rescue crews braved the elements and dangerous terrain to continue recovery efforts.  

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said 50 responders were helping in the search.

“It is an area where there is steep terrain,” Sarver said. “There’s currents and there are some challenges.” 

Around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday rescue teams found Swinton near the waterfall where he was last seen.  

Sarver tells 7News the area where the waterfall is located is private property.

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