Alcohol use may have contributed to a boater’s death on Lake Norman this week, the officer who investigated the case said Friday.
Matthew Malcom, 53, of Winston-Salem, died in the Mountain Creek section of the lake in Sherrills Ford, Senior Officer Sampson Parker of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission told the Observer.
Malcom was found near his boat in a cove 5- to 6-feet deep and likely would have survived had he worn a life jacket, Parker said. “Whether or not you can swim, it’s important to wear a life vest,” the officer said.
Malcom was staying at the nearby Lake Norman RV Resort on N.C. 150 when he went out on his boat late Sunday or early Monday, according to Parker. He was reported missing Monday afternoon, and his body was recovered about 10 p.m. Monday, the officer said. Neighbors discovered the boat with its engine on and no one on it, Parker said.
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Drowning is the suspected cause of death, but the medical examiner’s office will make the official ruling in about two weeks, Parker said.
Three other drowning-related deaths have occurred on Lake Norman this summer and one on Lake Wylie.
A 27-year-old Charlotte woman drowned in Lake Norman on June 12 after falling off of a private dock near Island Forest Drive in Cornelius.
Two men who jumped off boats to swim, without life jackets on, also drowned last month. Divers recovered the body of Isia Cruz June 6 from Lake Norman and the body of Connor Oliver from Lake Wylie on June 9. Firefighter and rescue diver Capt. Bradley Long died during the recovery mission for Cruz.