Sunday, August 19, 2012
A fishing trip near Moncks Corner turned deadly Sunday as a 19-year-old man lost his life when the boat he was on was swamped by high waves on Lake Moultrie.
Robert Northern Daniels, 19, of Ladson, died; the death has been ruled an accidental drowning by Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.
According to Salisbury, Sunday’s drowning, which took place moments before 1 p.m., occurred when a sudden storm produced winds and high waves on Lake Moultrie. Mr. Daniels was one of six people on a boat at the time of the storm.
“The boat was anchored when the storm came up,” Salisbury said. “They couldn’t get the anchor up. In the meantime, the motor failed on them.
"They were at the mercy of the wind and the waves.”
As the boaters struggled with the anchor, the boat began to fill with water from the waves, and the water “washed them all out,” Salisbury said. “They were about 100 yards away from the (Pinopolis) dam, and they were able to make it over to the dam.”
Only when five of the boaters were safe on the dam’s bank did they see that Mr. Daniels had not made it to safety with them; Mr. Daniels’ body was discovered on nearby rocks.
“He actually was found on the rocks,” said Salisbury. “The waves were high and he made it to the rocks – everything happened so fast.”
Salisbury said the other boaters were from the North Charleston, Ladson and Summerville area.
One of the boaters – the boat’s owner – is a double amputee, Salisbury said.
“He and his wife were able to hold on to a life jacket and swim to the dam,” Salisbury said. “The double amputee said everything happen so fast, he did not see the boy who drowned at any time until they were up on the bank on the dam.
“It was just a case of getting caught in the storm.”
A 911 call was placed at 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Daniels would have turned 20 on Tuesday, Salisbury said.
The investigation into the accident continues.