Teen Dies in Lake
Victim believed to have drowned
Morgantown Dominion Post
18 July 2012
By Cassie Shaner
A teenage boy died Tuesday afternoon while swimming in Cheat Lake
with family and friends. The group was swimming under the
Interstate 68 bridge that crosses the lake.
The Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department did not identify the
boy, 16, of Point Marion, Pa., on Tuesday. According to a press
release, his identity is being withheld to allow the family to
make proper notification.
The boy’s brother, Josh Williams, 29, said they had just arrived
and were swimming toward the closest pier when he looked back and
saw his brother going under the water.
Williams said he and a friend swam to the boy and tried to keep
his head above water. Williams started “taking on water,” left his
brother with his friend and swam back to the rocky shoreline under
the bridge to call 911.
“By the time I got back to the guardrail, I didn’t see him no
more,” Williams said, fighting back tears.
“It happened so fast.”
A volunteer firefighter estimated the water’s depth at 15 feet,
perhaps slightly deeper by the pier.
Three other boys appeared to have been swimming with Williams and
his friend. They watched the search from the pier before being
brought back to shore by Monongalia EMS.
Williams, his friend and the three boys were all visibly upset.
Williams’ friend angrily struck the guardrail along W.Va. 857
while watching the search.
He declined to describe what happened, saying simply, “My buddy
Family members and friends arrived throughout the afternoon. “Oh,
my God,” one woman shouted, as she hugged one of the boys. Another
woman yelled at Williams and the other swimmers.
“He should have never been allowed in the [lake],” she said. “I’ve
told you all summer.”
After calming down, she sat quietly with other family members and
watched the search.
The sheriff ’s department said the death is believed to be
accidential and no foul play is suspected.
The drowning was reported to MECCA 911 at 1:38 p.m. Police, fire
and EMS officials spent more than four hours searching the water
Emergency radio traffic indicated that the boy’s body was found at
about 6 p.m., just after lightning was reported within a 15-mile
radius. Emergency workers removed his body from the lake before
the feared storm arrived, pulling him out at Sunset Beach Marina.
Monongalia EMS dragged the water with a pole until divers from the
Morgantown police and fire departments arrived. A few recreational
boaters appeared to be searching the water, too, before other
emergency vessels arrived.
The Granville Volunteer Fire Department used its VideoRay — a
submersible robotic device with a camera — to search the murky
water, which seemed to be moving slowly.
The Cheat Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Point Marion (Pa.)
Volunteer Fire Co. assisted, the latter with a rescue boat. The
state Division of Natural Resources and the Monongalia County
Medical Examiner’s Office assisted, as well.
Tuesday’s incident was the second drowning in the area this year,
but the first since 2010 involving a swimmer.
Fred McCauley, 62, is believed to have fallen into the Monongahela
River while fishing at Edith B. Barill Riverfront Park on Feb. 28.
His body was found June 7 by two people fishing from a boat just
north of Point Marion Borough, in Fayette County, Pa.
The last swimmer who drowned was Tyler James Murphy, 21, of
Morgantown. His body was found more than four hours after he went
under water while swimming in the Cobun Creek Reservoir, in June