2 dead, including child, after 3 incidents on NC lake over weekend


Lake Norman in a file photo from WBTV.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Two people died over the weekend on Lake Norman due to a crash and a drowning.

“There are so many boats out, you have to constantly swerve around other boats while you’re driving,” boater Kyle Whittaker said.

Boaters are used to traffic on Lake Norman, but even Whittaker was shocked to hear about the deadly weekend.

“We know two vessels collided and serious property damage occurred on both vessels,” North Carolina Wildlife Sgt. William Laton said.

Friday night two boats hit each other just before 10 p.m.

No one was seriously hurt, but that was not the case the next day.

On Saturday, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office got a call about a missing swimmer around 2 p.m.

“It was a group of about 12 males on a pontoon boat,” Iredell County Deputy Jarid Church said. “Some were swimming, one began to struggle and went under.”

Jeffery Wayne Cooper Jr., 32, ended up drowning.

Investigators believe he was not wearing a life jacket.

“They were trying to throw them out to struggling swimmers but unfortunately wasn’t able to get it to them,” Church said.

On Sunday, there was another crash, this time between two jet skis with two children under the age of 16 on each of them.

The jet skis crashed and the two passengers were taken to the hospital.

One came out with a broken leg, but the other died from injuries.

It serves as a tragic warning for everyone.

“Keep your head on a swivel and look out for vessels around you in the event that they don’t see you,” Laton said. “We assume they see you and are going to move and we just can’t do that.”

Investigators say the kids on those jet skis were wearing life jackets and the drivers had boaters licenses.

They’re looking into whether the drivers of the boats involved in the crash on Friday were licensed.

Meanwhile, the boat involved with the drowning was a rental and that means they don’t have to have a boaters license.

If you want to learn more about the do’s and don’ts on the lake, you can take the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office’s water safety course. They are offering it at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Hager’s Creek.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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