GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A missing boater found hours after a boat capsized on the Catawba River Monday has been identified by NC Wildlife officials as 19-year-old James Coulter.
Officials say they received a call around 4:30 a.m. that a boat capsized off the Kevin Loftin boat launch and that three adults and a child were in the water. Four people were aboard the boat but only three people made it to shore, officials say, “one did not.”
The body of Coulter, believed to have drowned, was found hours after the boat capsized. The area is off Catawba Street in Belmont.
Officials say several people were camping on an island north of the Catawba River bridge and a boat was ferrying four people to the boat launch when the boat started “taking on water.” Officials did not confirm whether Coulter was wearing a life jacket.
“It was a small boat, probably big enough for four people,” officials say. “It seemed to be a tragic boating accident.”
Rescue crews staged at the Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park to provide updates on the water rescue Monday morning. The incident happened sometime around 4:30 a.m.
Throughout the park, there are signs which state camping is not allowed. Investigators are working to figure out if the group broke and trespassing laws.
No names have been released. Check back for updates.