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Man drowns in lake

October 31, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

HEDGESVILLE, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A 56-year-old Morgan County man drowned Sunday afternoon in a lake at the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area when the boat from which he was fishing with another man capsized, officials said.

The man's name was not being released Sunday night because next of kin had not been notified, said Mike Sibole, a conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources.

The men were fishing from a boat about 12 feet long when a battery powering a motor on the craft died, said Sibole.

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The operator of the boat stood up and handed an oar to a passenger, Sibole said.

When the operator stood up, the boat capsized, causing both men to fall into the water, Sibole said.

The passenger made it to the shore, but he could not see the operator, Sibole said.

The passenger went to a location near Jones Spring to call for help, Sibole said.

Blane Crookshank was fishing in the lake after the drowning and saw the victim under the surface of the water.

Crookshank said all he could think about was the man's family and perhaps trying to find a way to secure the body until help arrived.

Rescue crews arrived at the scene and were able to quickly remove the victim from the water, Sibole said.

The area where the drowning occurred was about 10 feet to 15 feet deep, Sibole said.

Officials were notified of the drowning about 3:30 p.m., said Sgt. T.R. Stuckey of the Department of Natural Resources.

The Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management area is a state recreational area that stretches along the county line between Berkeley and Morgan counties. The lake meanders through a wooded area and is accessed from different sites.

Sunday's incident was the second reported drowning at the lake this year. On Aug. 20, John K. Severt of Martinsburg, W.Va., drowned while having trouble swimming, officials said.

Severt went under the water, resurfaced and yelled for help and went under again, officials said.

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