Body found in search for missing person after boats collide on NC lake

WBTV photo of search efforts on Tuesday.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) — Officials say a body was found during a search Tuesday for a missing boater on Lake Norman following a boat collision late Monday night.

The identity of the person found has not been released, and officials have not confirmed if it was the boater they were searching for.

The Huntersville Fire Department says two boats collided just after 11 p.m. on the lake, near Weatherly Lane in Huntersville.

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Because the crash happened at night, crews have had a difficult time looking for the boater’s body. The search resumed Tuesday morning, with crews at the scene saying it was a recovery mission.

“At night time a lot of times, depth perception can be very minimal. It makes it that much tougher to pinpoint where you need to be looking,” said Sergeant William Laton, with the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.

Two people were on each boat. Crews say three of the four were found by responders and taken to Carolinas Medical Center. Crews searched the lake for the fourth person Monday night.

All three who were rushed to the hospital are expected to survive. One victim was released Monday night.

Dive team crews and responders from Charlotte Fire Department, Denver Fire Department, Cornelius-Lemey Fire Rescue, Cornelius Police Department and Huntersville Police Department all assisted in the search.

Neighbors said they cannot imagine what the missing boater’s family is going through right now.

“If I was a part of that family, I would be freaked out so much,” said Jeffery Harne.

According to Sgt. Laton, there were 16 boating incidents on Lake Norman in 2016, with two deaths.

Neighbors said they hope other boaters can learn from this crash, as well as last year’s deaths.

“You gotta learn from other people’s mistakes and try to be responsible,” said Rory Carpenter.

According to state boating laws, if you are going to be out on the water after dark, you need to use navigation lights. Officials have not yet said if either boat had lights on, or what the cause of the crash was. They will focus on the crash investigation after finding the body.

They’re hoping boaters are more cautious now after this crash.

“Be safe. Be aware of where you are, what you’re doing. Be aware of the other vessels around you. It’s easy to let your guard down sometimes, especially at night when there’s not much boating traffic,” Laton said.

No names have been released.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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