CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Police say divers have found the bodies of two boys who disappeared while swimming in South Chickamauga Creek in Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the bodies were found Monday afternoon, the day after Kentory Ray and Thomas Ruffin, who are both 11 years old, disappeared beneath the murky water.
Chattanooga police say the two boys were part of a group of four that went to the creek on Sunday afternoon to play.
According to police and what the two survivors told a neighbor, the boys were horse-playing when Ray, who didn't know how to swim, slipped and went under the water. Thomas, who could swim, went after him.
When they didn't resurface, the other boys left to get help.
Doris Chubb, who lives near the creek, was among the first to help the boys search for their friends and said they were taking it hard.
"I was explaining to them that death is something that you go through," Chubb said. "They not talking. They shocked. They're just staring at walls. They ain't even speaking. I tried talking to Demetrius last night. 'It's not your fault. It's not your fault. You a kid. You probably thought it wasn't something that serious.' It's a hard lesson, but it's a lesson well learned."
The depth of the water ranged from five to eight feet and the current was swift after rainfall Saturday. The creek has trails and fishing spots along it, but it was not intended for swimming.
"It's not appropriate for swimming at all. When you get down there, the foliage on both sides is really dense," Chattanooga Police Department Chief Bobby Dodd said. "When the first officers got down there yesterday afternoon, there were snakes sliding in off the banks. Snakes are really active down there."
Chubb said she was surprised that the boys were able to get to the spot on the creek, which required a hike.
"You think kids are safe because we're so close knit as a community. If I would have known that was back there, I would never let any of my nieces and nephews off my street," Chubb said. "You can drown in a teaspoon of water. We've got to do better educating our kids that that's a hazard. If they knew what the real and potential dangers of that water (were), they would have never went down there."
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com