Cousin of Eric Harris, 1 of 3 found dead in Arkansas River, remembers a man 'great with the water'

TULSA - A family member of Eric Harris opened up about the loss of his cousin Thursday, hours after his body was among three found near a low-water Tulsa dam in the Arkansas River.

A friend with the trio at the time said Eric Harris, of Watts, Okla., was noodling when a strong current pulled the 27-year-old under water. Connor Norvell, 20 and Troy George, 23, went in to save Harris but were caught in the current as well.

STORY: Bodies retrieved from Arkansas River (

Harris' cousin Melvin Harris said he was a man full of energy that loved the outdoors.

"He loved to hunt, loved to fish, noodling all the time," Harris said. " ... [Eric] told me that he loved it and how he was catching some giant catfish and he always wanted me to come up."

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When he heard the news that his cousin drowned, he was shocked.

"I wouldn't have ever thought anything like that would happen," Harris said. "He's always been great with the water and down at the river with me."

Harris said the family will continue to pray and move forward, but acknowledges they lost a great man. Eric Harris leaves behind two children.

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