Local News

Harnett County Drowning Victim Called a Hero

Posted May 22, 1999

— After 24 hours of searching, rescuers have pulled a man's body from the Cape Fear River. Rescuers found the victim's body in 20 feet of water Sunday evening.

The 40-year-old man from Coats drowned while fishing, but rescue workers are calling him a hero.

The water was shallow, but swift where the man and his children were fishing Saturday. One minute the children were wading through some rocks, the next they were in deep waterandin deep trouble.

Rescuer Gary Pope says the father rescued the children and then disappeared in the current.

"One minute you think you're okay the next it's 20 feet deep," says Pope. "He gave out. He was trying to rescue those two, he did rescue those two and then he was exhausted and he couldn't go any more and went under."

More than 90 rescue workers from Harnett and surrounding counties searched the dark waters of the Cape Fear through the night.

"He jumped in and tried to save those kids. He did that and it cost him his own life," says Pope.

Authorities have not yet released the name of the victim.

They say even though right now the Cape Fear River is low, there are still places the current can be very strong and dangerous.

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