South Carolina

Man and two dogs killed after storm hits boat on South Carolina lake, officials say

These two things could save your life on the water

Skipper Clay Emminger, with Beaufort Water Search & Rescue, offers one piece of equipment and one piece of advice that could potentially keep you alive while boating.
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Skipper Clay Emminger, with Beaufort Water Search & Rescue, offers one piece of equipment and one piece of advice that could potentially keep you alive while boating.

A man and two dogs died when a storm threw them and other members of a boating party into a lake Saturday night, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said.

The incident happened about 5 p.m. and involved six people headed to Lake Marion Resort Landing in a 32-foot pontoon boat with an enclosed structure, according to a press release from the department.

“While en route, waves swamped the boat and flipped it, trapping all six people in the structure underneath the water,” said the release. “Five boaters were able to get out and surface, however, one was not.”

Members of the boating party began searching for the lost man and eventually found him below the surface and pulled him up, Capt. Robert McCullough told The State. “But he didn’t make it,” said McCullough, adding the two dogs were lost.

SCDNR officials said that one of the agency’s officers “came across the scene and was able to get all six people aboard his vessel. The boater who did not originally surface was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.”

Information on the man’s cause of death, or if he drowned, was not available. The incident remains under investigation, officials said.

The man will be publicly identified by the Orangeburg County Coroner after his family has been notified.

The other people on the boat were also taken to an area hospital, where they were treated and released, according to McCullough.

DNR and the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office are investigating the death in the lake that spans five counties in South Carolina.

Lake Marion covers about 110,600 acres in Orangeburg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon and Sumter counties, DNR reported. The Orangeburg section of the lake is about 50 miles from Columbia.

It covers 511 miles of shoreline and is about 77 feet at its deepest point, according to DNR.

Don't be the river’s next victim. Use the Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team’s tips to save yourself from drowning.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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