Police: 19-year-old who drowned under water for 2 hours before 9 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Police: 19-year-old who drowned under water for 2 hours before 911 was called

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GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

A teenager who drowned in Mountain Island Lake was under the water for two hours before 911 was called, according to police.

The victim, 19-year-old Jaquez D'Andre Hunter-Cathey, was swimming with three friends just off of Mountain Island Lake Highway in Gaston County Tuesday when he went under the water and never returned to the surface.

Police say the group were illegally swimming in the area, and had to cross a fence to reach the water.

The friends told investigators that Hunter-Cathy began to struggle as he was swimming across a cove. A bystander then told the friends that he may have seen Hunter-Cathy climb out of the water on the other side of the cove, and they began looking for him in the woods.

Police told WBTV that his friends searched for him for an hour and a half before finally calling 911 around 6:30 p.m. to report the incident. At that time two friends began searching in the water, but were unable to locate Jaquez.

Rescue crews responded to the scene and were able to locate Hunter-Cathey under the water just after 8 p.m.

WBTV talked with residents who say the problem is that there is no safe place to access the lake in the area.

"The kids have been coming up here swimming for years," said Gaston County resident Andy Cox. "I'm 62 years old I've been swimming down here in this cove all my live. There's been so many drownings up here. It would be a perfect place for Duke Power to make a place like they have on Lake Norman State Park. Someplace safe with life guards and restrooms. But in Gaston, there's nothing."

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