Diver drowns during Lake Norman search
A member of the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue’s dive team was killed Monday afternoon as he and two other divers searched for a swimmer who had gone missing a day earlier.
Authorities identified the diver as Bradley Long, 28. They haven’t said what led to the diver’s death or to the injury of the two other divers who had trouble in murky water between 50 and 80 feet deep. The injured divers surfaced on their own.
Divers recovered the body of the swimmer, whose name was not released, according to Rick Davis, the Sherrills Ford-Terrell fire chief.
“Today Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue suffered a tremendous loss,” Davis said. “This afternoon three divers from our department encountered an emergency during the recovery efforts.”
Long, who worked at the Newton Fire Department, was a volunteer with Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue and was working with Sherrills Ford during the search, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
The Charlotte Fire Department’s dive team was called in to help in the search, off a private boat landing on Waterview Lane on the Catawba side of Lake Norman.
Around 7 p.m., firefighters from several departments converged on the scene. One emergency official could be seen holding an American flag.
Dozens of firefighters from neighboring departments gathered around 8 p.m. to escort Long’s body to a waiting vehicle. Some could be seen hugging and shaking hands with Sherrills Ford firefighters before the body was driven away.
Officials said the injured divers were responsive when they were taken to the hospital but haven’t released updates on their conditions.
Officials say the swimmer whose disappearance sparked the initial 911 call jumped off a boat in the water near Mooresville on Sunday. The person’s name has not been released.
Family members of the missing swimmer told WBTV that the 29-year-old was a strong swimmer and that he has a 2-year-old daughter and another child on the way. His pregnant wife was on the boat with him Sunday afternoon, according to WBTV.
A Charlotte Fire Department vehicle was involved in a crash in Iredell County on Monday while responding to the Lake Norman search, officials said. No injuries were reported.