MANNING - One man died late Saturday afternoon after he and five friends were trapped in a swamped pontoon boat on Lake Marion during a thunderstorm.
The Orangeburg County Coroner's Office has not released the name of the victim.
The six …
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The six friends were on a 32-foot pontoon boat that had an enclosed structure on top when the boat capsized during windy conditions and higher-than-normal waves, trapping the three men and three women underwater inside the structure, according to David Lucas, regional public information coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
"When they realized one of their friends was still underwater, the two men dove back down and brought their friend back to the top," Lucas said. "A DNR officer just so happened to be in the area heading to Lake Marion Resort Landing to get out of the stormy weather, came up on the scene and tossed personal flotation devices, PFDs, to the folks in the water. He was able to get all six people into his boat."
The DNR officer contacted EMS and met them at Lake Marion Resort Landing. Lucas said the man who did not initially surface after the accident was transported to a local hospital, where he died.
The six friends had put in at Poplar Hill Landing earlier in the day and were attempting to get to the closest landing after the thunderstorm popped up over Lake Marion.
The boat capsized about 5 p.m. between Poplar Creek Landing and Lake Marion Resort Landing near marker 87, Lucas said.
The National Weather Service said wind gusts were reported about 20 miles per hour during the time of the accident. Boaters in the area when the vessel capsized reported waves to be between 3 and 4 feet, Lucas said.
The accident is under investigation by DNR; however, Lucas said it "appears to be weather-related."
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