Cyclists ride through Ketner's Mill in this file photo.

A man who tried to save two brothers was still missing Friday afternoon after the two others drowned Thursday night at Ketner's Mill, officials say.

A call came into Marion County's 911 service at 7:40 p.m. Thursday saying three people had been missing in the water for longer than 10 minutes, said Steve Lamb, director of the Marion County Emergency Management Agency.

The two brothers were swimming at Ketner's Mill when one was swept over the edge of the dam, Lamb said. The other brother jumped over the dam and tried to save his brother. Then another man also jumped in the water, trying to save the two. Police said all three drowned.

Lamb said the incident is tied for the most he's ever seen drown at one time at Ketner's Mill.

"Anytime you got an overhead dam, the water gets rolling," he said.

The identities of the three men have not been released. Lamb said they were in their 20s or 30s.

Because of how much rain the Chattanooga area has gotten recently, the water at Ketner's Mill is stronger than usual, Lamb said. The pace of the current has forced officials to go as far as one mile downstream in their search for the third man.

This latest incident follows a near-drowning Wednesday at Ketner's Mill when a swimmer had to be rescued by another person.

Both of those people are OK, Lamb said.

Marion County EMA usually gets one or two reports of drowning a year. When asked how often drowning happens at Ketner's Mill, Lamb had a simple answer.

"Too often."

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at or 423-757-6731 or