Duke Energy sued by family that lost five in tubing accident on Dan River

Piedmont Triad News

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A family that lost five members in a tubing accident on a North Carolina river is suing Duke Energy.

Their suit accuses the utility of not doing enough to warn people that its dam poses a deadly risk.

Nine relatives from Eden and LaPorte, Indiana, were floating down the Dan River in inflatable tubes in June when they went over the 8-foot dam.

The survivors were spotted the next day by a Duke Energy employee who called 911.

Indiana attorney Kenneth Allen says the family would never have gone tubing there had they known they would come upon a dam.

The tragedy sparked a change in the community.  

“I’m glad to see it started a conversation in the community,” said Steven Pulliam, a Dan River keeper.  

Nearly one week after Duke Energy installed signs in June warning tubers and boaters of the dam, Pulliam said he planned to add more—this time in Spanish.  

“I think given the circumstances and the obvious need for additional signage,” it “could be beneficial,” Pulliam said.  

He said it’s a big step towards being more inclusive in Rockingham County. 

“It’s a little thing, but it’s something we can hopefully turn into more of a movement that we can see this across the state,” Pulliam said. 

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