The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said persistent work by several deputies helped them save a man from possible drowning last Saturday night in Lake Norman.
Investigators said the man apparently was trying to swim from the Iredell County side of the lake to the Lincoln County side.
Deputies said they were called shortly after 8:45 p.m. by an Iredell resident who said a man swam to the shore at Greyfriars Road near Mooresville and asked which way he needed to go to reach Denver. The caller said the man then swam off.
The distance from Greyfriars Road to the Denver area, on the western side of the lake, is at least 2 miles.
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Deputies Patrick Irwin, John Fletcher and Justin Carroll looked into the lake from shore but could not find the man. The three deputies checked a number of nearby waterfront residences but did not find the man there.
Sheriff’s Lt. Doyle Summers then arrived on the scene, investigators said, and contacted Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Burleyson, who is also a lake patrol officer. Summers and Burleyson were able to get lake patrol and Lake Norman Fire and Rescue boats on the water to search.
At this time, investigators said, about four hours had elapsed from the time when the man had left the Greyfriars Road area.
While patrolling the lake, Burleyson said he heard someone call him. He headed toward the voice and said he found a man, treading water in the middle of the lake. Lake Norman Fire and Rescue arrived and rescued the man, identified as 37-year-old Michael Allen Vercio of Denver.
Investigators said medics found that Vercio’s body temperature was dangerously low, and they said he wouldn’t have survived much longer in the water. Lake Norman water temperatures in mid-October are typically in the low 70s.
Medical charts show that people can die in as little as three hours in water with temperatures in the low 70s. After Vercio’s body temperature returned to normal, he was released to family members, deputies said.