HENDERSON — Emergency crews have found the body of Joshua "Peter" Bullock, 25, who disappeared Saturday night while teaching some children how to swim in Kerr Lake.
Rescuers searched desperately until it got too dark to see both Saturday and Sunday nights, but were unsuccessful in attempts to locate the body until Monday morning.
Bullock was giving swimming lessons to a group of a half-dozen kids he'd met at Hibernia Park. Bullock swam out into deeper water, went under, and never came back up.
"Then Bebe came running, saying 'Peter went under, he hasn't come back up.' That's when all of us ran down to the water. That's when we looked for him and couldn't find him," said Maybelline Thomas.
Thomas had kept a watchful eye on the water Sunday, as rescuers dragged Kerr Lake for Bullock's body.
Everyone thought he was kidding when he said he was in trouble.
"So he came up with one hand, and he was telling them he had a cramp in one leg, and they thought he was playing," said Arnita Miles, the victim's aunt.
Bullock never resurfaced. Forty rescuers, eight boats, and a plane launched a search that lasted until 1 a.m. Searchers returned at daybreak, but could offer little hope to Bullock's family.
"He was seen to go down by numerous people and we know his body is down down somewhere, we've just got to retrieve it," said Vance County Sheriff Thomas Breedlove.
An agonizing wait began for Bullock's family and friends Saturday night. Dozens of them gathered near the water, hoping against the inevitable outcome.
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States for people ages 15 to 44.
To play it safe, the America Red Cross says don't swim when you're too tired, too cold, or too far from safety, and always wear a life jacket. When in a boat or engaged in some other activity near the water, the U.S. Coast Guard says 90 percent of drownings happen to people who don't have life jackets on.