Female victim identified, search continues for another after drowning at Big Wills Creek

GADSDEN, Ala (WIAT) — A female victim has been identified after drowning and another person is still reported missing at Big Wills Creek, according to London Pearce, the Etowah County Coroner.

Pearce has identified the woman as Betty Ann Moon, 39. Authorities began searching Sunday for a second victim, a 48-year-old male, believed to have drowned at the same location.

“Some volunteers from Huntsville Search Dog Unit, it’s cadaver dogs, they have them going up and down the banks of the creek and also some boats that have been in the water to help the search effort downstream,” said Sgt. John Hallman with the Gadsden Police Department.

Authorities have not confirmed the second victim’s identity, but friends of the victims have identified him as Alan Mcmahan.

Authorities said it was reported to them that Moon went into the water voluntarily and that the male victim jumped in to rescue her.

Monday, authorities continued searching for the man they believe drowned; the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office, the Gadsden PD and the Gadsden FD as well as the EMA are on the scene. Law enforcement and firefighters are reportedly patrolling the banks and woods around the creek. They also had boats in the water further downstream.

Rain and faster currents inhibited search efforts Monday. Authorities have said it’s too dangerous to put a dive team in the water.

Sgt. Hallman said it’s the currents that make the water so dangerous. Others have drowned at this location.

In 2015, a kayaker on Big Wills Creek went over the low dam near Brooke Avenue and fell out of his kayak. He reportedly was not wearing a life jacket.

During a search for the victim, two boats carrying rescuers overturned, sending nine more people into the water. Several of them were transported to a local hospital where one of them died.

Authorities are warning people to stay out of the water here.

“There’s been several people in recent years that have drowned here. These currents will suck you up and not let go of you … Stay out of these waters over here. This is a low water dam. [The currents will] fool you,” said Hallman.

Authorities say the search will continue until the victim is found.

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