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Fisherman drowns, 2 saved in Lake Norman

A father-son fishing outing ended in tragedy Monday night on Lake Norman when a man drowned after a boat began sinking.

The victim’s son and another man were rescued by another boater after clinging to a cooler, according to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident was reported about 10:30 p.m. near the Stumpy Creek Road Park, authorities say. The three men had put their boat in the water and began heading away from shore, when the boat began taking water.

The sheriff’s office told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner, that the men had forgotten to install the drain plug near the rear of the boat. The craft had gotten a few hundred feet from the dock when it began sinking, authorities say.

The three men yelled for help and jumped into the water, according to the sheriff’s office. The victim, identified by the Mooresville Tribune as 53-year-old Herbert Eugene James of Mocksville, tried holding on to the boat but went under.

The other two men, identified by the Tribune as James’ son, Quentin Eugene James, and Daniel Keith Brown, held on to a cooler. The sheriff’s office says another boater rescued the two men a short time later.

The victim’s body was found early Tuesday morning. Crews retrieved the boat shortly before noon Tuesday, in about 40 feet of water.

It was the first drowning this year on Lake Norman but the second in 10 days in Iredell County. Ryan Hayes, a 19-year-old college student from Harrisburg, drowned in a Mooresville quarry last week.

Data from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics from 2011, the last year available, showed that 27 people from 13 counties near Charlotte died that year by drowning. Mecklenburg County accounted for 10 of the drownings. There were four deaths in Caldwell County; two each in Lincoln, Gaston and Union counties; one each in Alexander, Burke, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Iredell and Stanly counties; and none in Anson County.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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