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Police have not named the victim, but the man's brother told ABC11 that the man is 40-year-old Otavious "Smokey" Yarborough.
Divers recovered his body Friday afternoon, not far from where he was last seen swimming.
The incident began around 10:30 a.m. near the Louisburg courthouse. Louisburg Police Chief Jason Abbott said police received a call about a possible drowning at River Bend Park.
Four people went swimming, and it appears one went under and did not emerge, Abbott told ABC11.
A dive rescue team showed up quickly but couldn't find Yarborough. They searched for about 90 minutes.
Divers are in the Tar River in Louisburg trying to recover the body of Octavious “Smokey” Yarborough. His brother says Smokey, 40, was the youngest of four siblings. Police say he was swimming with 3 friends at River Bend Park when he went under and never came up. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/FMwzwt6i32— Ed Crump (@EdCrumpABC11) May 17, 2019
Dozens of family members and friends came to the park Friday afternoon to hope for the best and brace for the worst.
"He was a fun guy, loving guy, down to earth, everybody's friend, never met a stranger," said Eddie Yarborough, the victim's brother. "When he was working he was a hard worker. But he played hard as well."
Eddie Yarborough said his brother could swim but he was surprised that Otavious was swimming in this spot where the current can be swift.
"They could have been out here like you know enjoying themselves like we do when we go somewhere," said Glendola Lynch, Yarborough's cousin. "We all always got the camera on on our phones. Just, you know, having fun, whatever. And it just turned tragic."
Dive teams and emergency crews from as far away as Rocky Mount assisted in the search.
ABC11 crews on the scene talked to the man's cousin and brother, who said he was swimming with friends when he went under.