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US Forest Service investigating Chesterfield firefighter's death 

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 14:17:49-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield firefighter Alicia Monahan died during a swift water rescue training exercise on the Nantahala River in southwestern North Carolina on Saturday.

The river is on federal land, so the law enforcement branch of the United States Department of Forest Service (USFS) is investigating Monahan's death.

USFS law enforcement officer Aaron Devore said the investigation was "ongoing" and he "can't answer anything yet."

He said the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission responded to the scene on the Nantahala River, part of the Nantahala Forest.

Devore is in the process of speaking to them, as well as witnesses, about what happened.

The Nantahala River is about seven hours from Chesterfield, close to North Carolina's borders with both Georgia and Tennessee.

Warren Cabe, the emergency services director for Macon County, North Carolina, said "personnel on scene had extricated her from the water when EMS arrived and medical care was continued throughout the transport to Swain County Hospital."

He added that "bystanders and other rescue personnel on scene conducted basic life support measures and when EMS arrived advanced life support measures were initiated and continued throughout the transport."

Agencies come to the Nantahala River from across the Southeast to train their swift water teams, David Breedlove, the Emergency Management Director for Swain County, said.

Breedlove said they get permits from the National Forest to use the river.

He said the river is "a nationally known whitewater stream that rafters and kayakers and everyone uses with varying levels of difficulty, up to class three rapids, which are difficult to navigate."

Chesterfield Fire Chief Loy Senter is scheduled to address Monahan's death during a Wednesday morning press conference.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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