DISASTERS: Beneath the Big Sandy

Show pity, Lord, O Lord forgive,

Prepare me, Lord, to die

Will the waters be chilly, will the waters

be chilly, Will the waters be chilly when I'm

called to die?

—Cumberland Mt. Folk Song

Chilly and swollen from melting snow were the waters of eastern Kentucky's Big Sandy River. In the evergreen-carpeted Cumberland foothills of Floyd County, where the Levisa Fork of the Big

Sandy bends and weaves and runs for a piece beside U.S. Highway 23, the muddy water was swirling, rapids-fast and more than 20 ft. deep, through channels where it normally meanders no more than chest-high on a tall man. There, last...

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