HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) - As the weather heats up, many people head to Kerr Lake to cool off. Rescue crews responded to their first drowning of the season on Sunday night in Vance County.
"It is tragic on all levels, but the best thing that comes out of a bad situation is that the family has closure because their family member has been recovered,” said Doyle Carpunky, Chief of the Vance County Rescue Squad.
A man was seen swimming in the Satterwhite Point recreation area. Witnesses said he went under and never came up.
“A lot of people may be used to swimming in the pool and not be a good swimmer with the lake,” Park Superintendent Bryce Fleming said. “The bottom varies a lot more than it does in a pool and also if you go underwater in a lake, you’re hard to see."
Authorities said the 43-year-old man drowned. Fleming has worked as a park ranger at Kerr Lake since 1997. He said some years they get lucky and have no drownings, but that's not the case this year.
The man was swimming in an area not zoned for swimming, but Fleming said the area is not off limits to swimmers either.
“We do have one area here at Satterwhite Point which is what we call a defined area, and in a defined area, we have a swim line around it,” said Fleming. “Boats aren’t allowed in the area.”
Fleming said at the zoned area they do have loaner life jackets available, but there are no lifeguards on duty anywhere at the lake. He also said there are no signs warning people about swimming in the undefined part of the lake.
“Kerr Lake itself has 900 miles of shore line, so it would be impossible to do something like that,” Fleming said.
Fleming also said alcohol and water do not mix, and it has been a contributing factor to drownings at the lake in the past.
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