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Helicopter used to recover body trapped by floodwaters
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Rescue Squad members John Kester and Lucas Foutch walk from a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter which landed in the Irving College area on Sunday.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter was used to recover the body of a 66-year-old Irving College resident on Sunday because floodwaters made roads impassable.

Funeral service for Newton Everett “Elb” King, 66, will be held Wednesday at Layne Funeral Home in Altamont.

A neighbor conducting a welfare check on Mr. King discovered him early Sunday morning and contacted authorities. Mr. King had been suffering from recent health problems and his death is not flood-related.

Representatives from Warren County EMS and the Sheriff’s Department were transported to the home on Camp Woodlee Road, off Hills Creek Road, via helicopter. According to EMS director Preston Denney, they conducted an on-site death investigation, took pictures, and examined medication. They determined Mr. King died of natural causes.

While they gained access to the home by air, Warren County Rescue Squad members were able to brave the floodwaters to arrive by ground. John Kester and Lucas Foutch, two members of the swift-water rescue team, used a boat and strong swimming to reach the home.

According to Rescue Squad director Chad Hillis, water was over the road in four different places. Kester and Foutch used a boat initially, then resorted to walking and swimming the rest of the way.

“We waited as long as we could for the water to recede as much as possible,” said Hillis. “John and Lucas are just top-notch in terms of their training and we are fortunate to have them on our squad.”

Once at the home, they were able to provide the THP helicopter pilot with exact coordinates. Hillis estimates the pilot was able to land about 100 yards away from the home around 4 p.m. Sunday.

Hillis said the helicopter recovery capped a hectic, rain-soaked weekend that saw Rescue Squad members respond to seven calls. It follows the rescue of a teen and his horse last Wednesday when their buggy got swept away by floodwaters in the Jacksboro area.