SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
A 42-year-old Grundy County man drowned over the weekend while tubing in Tims Ford Lake, about a half mile from Lakeview Restaurant and Marina, located inside Tims Ford State Park.
Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said Craig Caldwell, of Palmer, passed away around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Jena Clark, manager of Lakeview Restaurant and Marina, said the victim’s boat pulled up to the establishment’s dock and an occupant ran to the restaurant, calling frantically for someone to call 9-1-1.
The Lakeview crew responded by taking over resuscitation efforts on the boat.
Taking turns, Clark and Matthew Payne, an attendant at the Marina, first continued cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which went on ceaselessly as they were soon joined by several of Tims Ford State Park’s rangers who also assisted with resuscitation efforts.
The man’s wife, Crystal Overturf Caldwell, two children and a family friend were along on the outing. Another witness took the children away from the tragic scene.
“Everybody was helping with CPR,” Clark said. “When one of us would get tired, another one would take over. We worked for 30 minutes.”
Authorities said they believe Caldwell was tubing on the lake when he fell off into the water.
About 30 minutes later, crews arrived on the scene but were unable to revive him. He was taken to Southern Tennessee Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“Who would have thought such a nice Labor Day weekend would end like that?” Clark said. “We did all we could do.”
The TWRA said Caldwell was found not wearing a life jacket. Officials said alcohol was not a factor in the incident.
Witnesses believe the couple had just purchased the boat and were taking it out for the first time.
Caldwell was employed by Tri-County Stone.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter and five sons and his parents, Alton and Grace McDaniel Caldwell.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Layne Funeral Home in Palmer.
No other details have been released.