Boating tragedy avoided thanks to Rescue Squad’s efforts

  • Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dan Brown/Independent Berkeley County Rescue Squad workers searched for more than six hours for three boaters stranded on Lake Moultrie when their boat overturned.

A tragedy was avoided last week on Lake Moultrie.

Sometimes that isn’t the case, according to Berkeley County Rescue Squad Chief Bill Salisbury.

In many cases Salisbury is required to change hats and process the incident and the recovery scene as Berkeley County Coroner.

But not this time.

“This was a good rescue,” Salisbury said of the June 1 incident that saw the squad at his command rescue boater whose craft had capsized. “We came home with a happy ending this time.”

“The conditions on Lake Moultrie can change in a heartbeat, and last Sunday we had gusty winds. There were no storms and it was a nice day weather wise but it got windy.”

Salisbury believes the boat overturned and sank sometime around 4;30 p.m. Sunday, June 1.

“The Rescue Squad was notified by the father that their boat was overdue. They did not file a float plan and the father was convinced the victims were on the river and not on the lake,” he said. “The father kept saying they’re on the river, they’re on the river. They never go on the lake.”

The Rescue Squad found the victims clinging to the overturned boat around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, June 2 on Lake Moultrie.

“They had been in the water more than eight hours,” Salisbury said.

The three victims, 20-year-old Calvin Cumbee II, 23-year-old Kaleb Caddell, and 21-year-old Jessica Jessup were holding onto the boat. Two were wearing life jackets and the third was holding on to a cooler.

Salisbury implored boaters to follow boating safety practices such as filing a float plan, having adequate life jackets on hand and to keep an eye on the weather.

“Lake Moultrie is a shallow lake and it doesn’t take a lot of wind to stir things up and make conditions danger, and please, file a float plan. There is a lot of water out there to search and it’s important somebody knows where you are sailing.”

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