Body recovered of swimmer who disappeared in Tar River

North Carolina
Octavious Yarbrough_1558119328277.jpg_87955669_ver1.0_640_360_1558212700723.jpg.jpg

LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) – Louisburg police said Friday that first responders searched the Tar River in Franklin County after a report of a drowning, recovering a man’s body.

Police said four people were out this morning when one of them went under around 10:30 near River Bend Park. The river can be as deep as 12 or 14 feet and water can move swiftly. 

Family members tell CBS 17 the man who went missing under the water is Octavious “Smokey” Yarborough. Louisburg Police Chief Jason Abbott said crews recovered Yarborough’s body just after 3 p.m. Friday.

Crews from around the region helped in the search. 

Relatives say it’s common for the 40-year-old to come to the park but unusual for him to have gone in the river.

Yarborough’s brother, Eddie, described Octavious as a “Fun guy, loving guy, down to earth, everybody’s friend, never met a stranger.”

Eddie is the oldest of the four siblings. He lost another brother less than two years ago. He said he’s trying to remain strong for the rest of the family.

“There’s a responsibility, but it’s difficult. And, being the oldest you’re supposed to be the strongest, and that’s difficult,” he said. “It’s just a beautiful day for such a tragedy.”

As the weather heats up, Chief Abbott cautioned people against going into the river. 

“We know there are heavy currents underneath the surface of the water. We can only assume that maybe the currents got the best of him,” he said. “Water in the rivers can fool you particularly. So, just be safe and don’t go into rivers unless you are very familiar and trained.”

He said he could only recall a similar incident happening “two or three times” in the two decades he’s worked in the community. 

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