A 3-year-old girl died after falling down a waterfall Sunday evening in North Carolina, according to authorities.
The toddler, identified as Nevaeh Jade Newswanger, of Denver, Pennsylvania, was visiting Whitewater Falls with her family when she was swept away in the water at the top of the falls and the current pushed her over the falls, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The Jackson County Emergency Management 911 Center received a call about the child at 5:50 p.m. Sunday and emergency responders from multiple counties responded to the scene and attempted to locate the child.
“Just prior to night fall on Sunday rescuers located the child deceased and entrapped in an area of the water fall,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
Recovery operations went on throughout the night into the early morning until the child was recovered around 1 a.m. Monday, authorities said.
Nevaeh and her family had been residing in Oconee County, South Carolina, while working in the area, officials said. Oconee County is about 25 miles south of Whitewater Falls, which is located near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies with a plunge of 411 feet, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The nearby Lower Whitewater Falls in South Carolina also drops 400 feet.
It is not known how far the child fell.
“First and foremost our prayers are with the Newswanger Family as they grieve the loss of this precious young child,” Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall said in the statement. “With the onset of spring weather we need to be reminded of the dangers associated with many scenic areas of the region such as waterfalls.”
Hall urged visitors to keep a safe distance, follow safety precautions and remain in designated viewing areas when visiting the falls.