Cummins Falls State Park opens with safety warning after rescue

(Photo: Submitted)

JACKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Cummins Falls State Park opened on Sunday but with a warning for families after nearly 40 people had to be rescued and two died amid flash flooding.

The warning was not to bring small children for another day or two until water levels go down.

A post on the park’s Facebook page says visitors can now hike to the base of the waterfall, but the water is still too high for swimming, and access to the ledges near the waterfall is restricted.

On Wednesday, a sudden surge of floodwater trapped close to 40 people behind the falls and in the river below. Some were swept away by the strong current.

A frantic rescue operation saved almost everyone.

Peggy McDaniel, 73, who was visiting with her family, did not survive. It took searchers two days to find McDaniel’s body more than a mile downstream from the falls.

Lisa Hillian, 45, also died in the flooding. Her family said she went to the park to help with the search and rescue operation.

MORE: What led to the sudden rise of water at Cummins Falls?