Rescue diver hospitalized after trying to save man drowning in popular NC waterfall

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A rescue diver was airlifted to a hospital after trying to save a man who died while swimming in a waterfall at a popular hiking area, North Carolina officials say.

Divers with the Linville Fire Department responded to a missing swimmer at Elk River Falls on the morning of Friday, May 20, according to a statement from the fire department.

Elk River Falls is a 50-foot waterfall in Pisgah National Forest, a 500,000-acre hiking and outdoor recreation area surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. The falls are near the town of Banner Elk, which is 75 miles north of Asheville.

“Unfortunately this mission turned into a recovery,” the statement says.

First responders recovered the body of 53-year-old Philip D. Williams, according to WSOC-TV.

After the mission, one of the rescue divers showed symptoms of a “serious medical issue,” according to the fire department. He was airlifted to a medical facility. His injuries were not related to the dive mission.

The diver is expected to make a full recovery, according to the fire department.

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