High school student Nicklaus Brown missing after swimming in Eno River Rock Quarry

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Underwater drone searches for missing swimmer at Eno River Rock Quarry
Rescue crews are searching for an 18-year-old who disappeared in the water Tuesday evening at the Eno River Rock Quarry.

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Rescue crews searched overnight for an 18-year-old who disappeared in the water Tuesday evening at the Eno River Rock Quarry.

School officials at Eno River Academy identified that man as Nicklaus Brown.

"Nick was one of those students who was super personable with everyone," said Lisa Bair, executive director of Eno River Academy. "With being a small graduating class, it was really great to be able to spend time kind of getting able to know them on a more personal level."

Authorities told ABC11 that a group of teenagers were in the water when Brown went cliff diving and didn't surface.

Searches for Brown resumed around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials said the search turned into a recovery effort.

They told ABC11 crews were focusing on an "area of interest" which was detected by an underwater drone sent from Lee County to assist with the search.

"I strongly recommend you not swim in the quarry," Eno State Park Ranger Jack Singley said. "There's razor sharp rocks. It's an old quarry. There's danger under the water that you cannot see. There's lots of trees that fall into the quarry. And it's been abandoned for 60 years. If you're going to have a good time with your family, this is not the safe way to do it."

Singley said rangers from Jordan Lake, Falls Lake and Umstead State Park were helping with the search. He also added that it is illegal to swim in most state parks including this particular area of the quarry.

Brown was a member of the swim and baseball teams at his school. He has a younger brother who also attended Eno River Academy. Brown's family lives in Hurdle Mills.

He was set to attend University of North Carolina Wilmington in the fall.

There is a candlelight vigil planned for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Hillsborough United Methodist church in downtown Hillsborough.

"There's always a temptation especially in the midst of great tragedy in massive unforeseen accidents like this to try and find ways to make sense of it and instead what we do I gather together and give thanks for Nick and his family and the time we've had with them," said Pastor Cameron Merrill.

"You always want to remain hopeful no matter what," Bair said. "But you do realize there are parameters there at that quarry."

Officials said there have been at least three drownings at the quarry since the state park took control more than a decade ago.