Sheriff: Man drowns at Elk River Falls in Avery County

- A Charlotte man drowned at Elk River Falls in Avery County over the weekend, marking the second drowning in the river in six weeks. 

Avery County emergency personnel responded to a possible drowning at Elk River Falls at 5:05 p.m. Sunday, July 1.  Witnesses said that Nagarjuna Gogineni, 32, of Charlotte, was swimming with friends at the base of Elk River Falls and after jumping into the water from the side, Gogineni seemed to struggle and went under and did not resurface. 

By 7 p.m., divers had recovered the body of Gogineni and he was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office in Lenoir. 

Authorities said this is the second death at Elk River Falls this spring/summer from just swimming in the water at the base of the falls and swimmers being caught in the strong undercurrents of the area. 

Prior incidents resulting in death or injury have primarily been from jumping from the rocks above the falls into the water, they said. 

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