Teen feared dead after jumping from cliff into river
July 15, 2013 4:39 PM
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
James Davis, Jr., 15, jumped from a cliff over the Cumberland River Sunday.
LEBANON, Tenn. -
A 15-year-old Lebanon boy is feared dead after jumping into the Cumberland River with friends Sunday evening.
Officials said the teen, James Davis, Jr., used a rope tied to the Highway 231/Hunters Point Bridge to jump from a cliff into the river near where it flows into Old Hickory Lake, about 10 minutes north of Lebanon.
Davis began to struggle as soon as he hit the water. His two friends tried to save him but also began to struggle.
One of the boys was able to swim to safety. The other was pulled into a nearby canoe.
The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. Crews suspended their search once night fell Sunday. The search resumed Monday at 7 a.m.
Eight boats and 30 personnel from five different agencies including the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Wilson County Sheriff's Office and emergency management agencies in Wilson, Sumner and Trousdale counties aided in the search.
Wilson County EMA director John Jewell told Nashville's News 2 they planned to use sonar equipment but the water might be too murky.
Officials also said none of the teens were wearing life jackets when they jumped.
"When you are 15 to 16-years-old, you think you are invincible,[but] you are not," Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said.
He added, "Swimming in this type of water and swimming in a pool are two different things. People do not need to swim in there. Rivers are dangerous."
Sheriff Bryan said the rope swing is dangerous and they have cut it down several times in the past.
"We keep cutting it down and [the kids] keep putting it back up," he said, shaking his head.
Friends of Davis told Nashville's News 2 he was going to be a sophomore at Lebanon High School and used to play football.
He was also a member of Corona Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet.
"It just breaks my heart. [He was] going to church [and] saved last year, but when he jumped off, someone said he said, ‘I can't swim,'" family friend Joe Ricketts said.
A family member added Davis always had a smile on his face.
The boy's parents were on vacation at the time of his disappearance.
His grandmother was in town and on the scene Sunday. His entire family was at the scene by midday Monday.