Coroner: Holiday drowning is 17th in this area in 25 years

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OCONEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A 21-year-old man drowned at Fall Creek Landing on Lake Keowee, Wednesday evening.

According to Charlie King, county emergency responders were told about a report of a drowning at Fall Creek Landing on the lake around 4:50 p.m. and said crews were on-scene within 10 minutes.

Bystander said a man had gone under at the “jumping off rock.”

Oconee and Pickens Co. divers were deployed and the person was recovered a short time later.

The Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis says Vikash K. Patel of Greenville died at the scene around 5:35 p.m.

Friends said Patel was attempting to wade across the channel to the popular island known as “The Rock” when he stepped off the sandbar / shelf into deeper water, according to the report.

Patel could not swim and panicked, according to the coroner.

His friends tried to rescue him, but he disappeared beneath the water.

Addis says there have been 17 deaths in that area of the lake in the past 25 years.

He says a number of those deaths have been people trying to cross the channel to the island.

The distance is further than it appears and the water is deep on either side of the sandbar, according to Addis.

He recommends the use of a personal floatation device by everyone when crossing the channel, especially if you have limited or no swimming capability.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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