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High school rugby player drowns at Mountain Island Lake

Emergency crews responded to a possible drowning after they say a person went missing in the water at a popular Huntersville park Tuesday afternoon. The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on the 5200 block of Sample Road, which is in Latta Plantation, a nature preserve and historic park. The lake is part Mountain Island Lake.
Emergency crews responded to a possible drowning after they say a person went missing in the water at a popular Huntersville park Tuesday afternoon. The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on the 5200 block of Sample Road, which is in Latta Plantation, a nature preserve and historic park. The lake is part Mountain Island Lake. Charlotte

A star player on the North Mecklenburg High rugby team drowned while swimming with two friends at Mountain Island Lake on Tuesday, family members and the player’s coach said.

Marcos Hernandez, a 17-year-old junior, was scheduled to play in the state championship with his team this weekend.

“Marcos had a rare combination of fearlessness and compassion,” his coach, Bo Pasko, told WBTV, the Observer’s media partner, Tuesday night. “He was not only one of the most talented rugby players I’ve ever coached, but he was also truly loved by his teammates and friends. The family, friends and fans of North Meck Rugby are devastated.”

Hernandez drowned Tuesday afternoon in water off the Latta Plantation nature preserve and park. The water there is part Mountain Island Lake.

Rescue crews from multiple departments searched the lake using sonar and a police helicopter for about four hours before confirming that Hernandez’s body had been found.

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