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Man drowns after rescuing minor

A visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park perished last week when he tried to save a younger family member from drowning. 

Wayne County resident Bulmaro Morales, 32, jumped into the Oconaluftee River behind the Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee to save a juvenile family member in distress, witnesses reported. When rangers arrived on the scene around 5:20 p.m. Saturday, June 27, the juvenile was safely on shore but Morales had not resurfaced. 

Rangers and bystanders immediately launched a search, and Morales was found unresponsive about 10 feet underwater. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. 

Cherokee EMS and Cherokee Fire and Rescue assisted with the effort. 

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