Officials identify body of man who drowned on Lake Norman

The man reportedly jumped off of a pontoon boat Saturday afternoon, but did not resurface.
Officials say the man was found deceased in the water near the Lake Norman State Park beach area, on the Catawba County side.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 4:47 PM EDT
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LAKE NORMAN, N.C. (WBTV) - Search crews recovered a man’s body Sunday afternoon after he went missing in Lake Norman on Saturday.

N.C. Wildlife officials identified him as 32-year-old Kadeem McGrier, of South Carolina.

They say he jumped off the back of a pontoon boat shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday, but did not resurface.

Officials say the man was found deceased in the water near the Lake Norman State Park beach area, on the Catawba County side.

They say he was not wearing a life jacket.

Wildlife officials say numerous people were on the boat and tried to rescue him, but were unable to do so.

Law enforcement began to search for him on Saturday but they were unable to locate his body until the following day.

According to N.C. Wildlife, this is the second death on Lake Norman so far this year.

Officials say there were three total deaths on Lake Norman in 2021.

Related: Man dies on pontoon boat on Lake Norman, first responders say

Sgt. Matthew Figaro with the Cornelius Police Department Lake Patrol says this is a reminder for people of the importance of water safety.

“With Lake Norman, with wind and boat traffic, it turns into a confused sea,” Sgt. Figaro said. “You can’t time the waves. If you add the fact like over intoxication, a weak swimmer, with no life jacket, waves in your face, water in your mouth it’s a recipe for disaster.”

He suggests people wear a life jacket when they enter the lake.

“These are game changers, like a seatbelt in a car, it’s what you need to have,” he said.

Anyone younger than 13 years old is required by law to wear a life jacket on a moving vessel.

Officials also said the boat McGrier was riding was a rental.

Each rental company is required to provide enough life jackets for the number of people on the boat.

Mike Nuzzolese is the president of Cornelius Pontoon Rentals.

The boat involved in this drowning incident did not come from his company, but he did say incidents like this highlight the importance of safety for rental companies.

He told WBTV he knows he can’t control everything on the lake, but he can control who is driving.

“They need to agree to read all the information as well as watch the safety videos,” Nuzzolese said. “We do require that anyone who takes a boat out is experienced and that’s very important to us.”

Nuzzolese says a good option for inexperienced boaters is to pay for a captain through his company.

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