A 16-year-old male, whose name hasn’t been released by authorities yet pending notification of his next of kin, hadn’t been at the Laurel Lake Spillway long Monday afternoon when he and some friends decided to jump off some rocks near the beach like numerous other people.
Unfortunately for the teen, he tired out before being able to swim back to shore and drown.
“My heart goes out to the family. It is just a sad day for the family and the community both,” said Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
Day at the lake
Xavier Kramar, 17, said he, the victim and two other friends went to the lake just to hang out and swim.
They hadn’t even been at the lake for 10 minutes when they jumped off the rocks like they had done numerous times before.
Kyle Trammell, 19, said he jumped off the rocks right in front of victim.
“He tried to fall in behind me, got tired and couldn’t hold himself up any more. By the time we got to him, he was already sinking,” Trammell said.
Kramar said he thinks his late friend got caught in the current and back splash of an eddy from a boat.
“I guess he couldn’t go anywhere and tired himself out staying a float,” Kramar said. “He started screaming for help. I was on the other side of the lake. By the time I got to him he had just sunk down. I dived down trying to see if I could get him. He was just too far deep.”
Harrell said his department and several others were notified about 4:15 p.m. about the drowning.
About three-dozen first responders from Whitley and Laurel counties responded to the lake where divers from Woodbine Fire and Rescue and the London-Laurel Rescue Squad were able to recover victim’s body about 6:35 p.m.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Rich Waite said the area where the victim was recovered was about 25 feet deep.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley said that case is being investigated as a drowning.
“It is apparent that it is a drowning. We have no beliefs to think otherwise of any type of foul play. It is being investigated as an accidental drowning,” Croley said.
No life jackets were in use Monday.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonas Saunders and Croley are investigating the case.
Other agencies assisting at the scene, included: Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife, Laurel County Emergency Management Director Abby Hale, Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses, and Whitley County EMS.