Man killed on Lake Norman after boat crash identified

Dive crews recover body while searching for a missing boater
Published: May. 16, 2017 at 9:41 AM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2017 at 3:15 PM EDT
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(Micah Smith | WBTV)
(Micah Smith | WBTV)

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Officials have identified the deceased man found during a search Tuesday for a missing boater on Lake Norman as 41-year-old James Foster of Charlotte.

The Huntersville Fire Department says two boats collided just after 11 p.m. Monday on the lake, near Weatherly Lane in Huntersville.

Because the crash happened at night, crews had a difficult time looking for the boater's body. The search resumed Tuesday morning, with crews at the scene saying it was a recovery mission.

"At night time a lot of times, depth perception can be very minimal. It makes it that much tougher to pinpoint where you need to be looking," said Sergeant William Laton, with the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.

Two people were on each boat. Crews say three of the four were found by responders and taken to Carolinas Medical Center. Crews searched the lake for the fourth person Monday night before finding Foster's body Tuesday.

All three who were rushed to the hospital are expected to survive. One victim was released Monday night.


Dive team crews and responders from Charlotte Fire Department, Denver Fire Department, Cornelius-Lemey Fire Rescue, Cornelius Police Department and Huntersville Police Department all assisted in the search.

Stephen Deutsch, a resident living along Lake Norman, said he is the one who called 911. He said he heard a boat moving on the water, then he heard a crunch. He called emergency responders for hep.

"I was going to jump in the boat and go out there. The emergency services person said do not go out there," said Deutsch.

Deutsch said he watched the search teams pull a body from the water Tuesday evening.

"I feel bad for the person who passed and their family and hopefully they can get some closure. I'm sure it was a long 24 hours," said Deutsch.

Neighbors said they cannot imagine what the missing boater's family is going through right now.

"If I was a part of that family, I would be freaked out so much," said Jeffery Harne.

According to Sgt. Laton, there were 16 boating incidents on Lake Norman in 2016, with two deaths.

Neighbors said they hope other boaters can learn from this crash, as well as last year's deaths.

"You gotta learn from other people's mistakes and try to be responsible," said Rory Carpenter.

According to state boating laws, if you are going to be out on the water after dark, you need to use navigation lights. Officials have not yet said if either boat had lights on, or what the cause of the crash was. They will focus on the crash investigation after finding the body.

They're hoping boaters are more cautious now after this crash.

"Be safe. Be aware of where you are, what you're doing. Be aware of the other vessels around you. It's easy to let your guard down sometimes, especially at night when there's not much boating traffic," Laton said.

Officials say the crash remains under investigation, and that charges could be filed once that investigation is complete.

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