Fort Campbell soldier missing after jumping into river to escape altercation at bar

A Fort Campbell soldier has been identified following his disappearance shortly before scuffling with bar staff at the Electric Cowboy in Clarksville, TN. (Photo credit: Kenneth Blackwell)

The swollen, flooded rivers surrounding the Fort Campbell area in Tennessee may have claimed the life of an off-duty soldier who is believed to have fallen into the swift and deadly waters.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Director Jerry Buchanan said that his crews are currently searching the Cumberland River after a soldier involved at a bar altercation reportedly jumped into the adjacent Red River, which funnels into the Cumberland.

The soldier -who has not been identified but is reportedly in his early twenties- was at the area’s infamous Electric Cowboy nightclub when he became “belligerent” and fell into a puddle Friday night while challenging bar staff to fight him. Shortly after the altercation, police believe he jumped into the Red River.

Montgomery County officials do not suspect foul play in the incident.

“It’s sad, you know, just to think of a person losing their life. It’s sad,” Buchanan said.

Waters surrounding the area have been dangerously rough due to flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, causing rescue craft to become overwhelmed. Rescue crews had to put the search on pause Friday night, due to dangerous conditions.

“The Cumberland is a particularly dangerous river once it swells,” said Andy Wolf, Popular Military writer and former member of the Montgomery County Rescue Squad, an agency currently involved in rescue operations. “Those waters quickly engulf everything along the shore line, including local parks and docks, making transit difficult even for larger vessels.”

“It’s unfortunate,” he added, “but the environment we’re talking about means these situations rarely end on a good note. There is no telling when -or if- emergency services will find anything, no matter how professional they are.”

According to WSMV, maritime rescue crews will be checking the riverbanks three times a day, with commercial barges and law enforcement warned to be on the lookout as well.

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