13-year-old drowns in Jordan Lake on Labor Day Weekend

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
13-year-old drowns in Jordan Lake on Labor Day Weekend
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A 13-year-old boy drowned at Jordan Lake on Sunday, according to the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 13-year-old boy drowned at Jordan Lake on Sunday, according to the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

The victim was identified as Kevin Lopez of Locust, a small but growing city that straddles Stanly and Cabarrus counties.

He is the ninth person to drown in the lake so far this year.

SEE ALSO | Forensic sketch of woman found dead in Jordan Lake released as investigators try to identify her

"Our hearts go out to the victim's family. This unfortunate incident serves as a poignant reminder that water safety should always be a top priority, especially during holiday weekends when waterways are bustling with activity," Sheriff Mike Roberson said.

State law requires anyone younger than 13 to wear a life jacket when on a recreational vessel, but Roberson and NC Wildlife strongly encourage everyone to wear a lifejacket when on the water, saying even the most skilled swimmers can be incapacitated during an accident.

Less than two weeks ago at Falls Lake, a 35-year-old man drowned after a canoe he was on with friends flipped.

SEE ALSO | Man drowns while at Jordan Lake in Chatham County

People told ABC11 they are taking caution while enjoying the water during the Labor Day holiday.

"We live in North Carolina. It's not the end of summer," said Raleigh resident Emily Topping.

"(Labor Day's about being) on the water, good friends. Throw a line or two, catch a couple fish," said Raleigh resident Mitchell Dudley.

Sandra Huffman of Gibsonville was out at the lake with extended family.

"It's really nice not usually too crowded and the kids love it. It's pretty safe." Huffman said. "We have floaties on the other ones because we have little ones. He has the floaties on him. The other ones do know how to swim but we keep an eye on them to make sure everything safe in everything they do."

Jamie Martinez was at Parker's Creek Beach with his wife and two children.

"Definitely a life jacket, stay vigilant and not let them go past the yellow divider...and basically that's it," Martinez said. "Being there, watching them that's the best way of keeping them safe. Overall, I think that you gotta be vigilant with your kids and that's everything."

Lorenzo Davis, who was there with his four children, said keeping an eye on them is the key.

"Just keep them close really, always keep an eye on them. If they're in the water, I'm in the water," Davis said. It don't seem too bad to be honest. We always stay in front of the yellow stuff but it doesn't seem too bad. Definitely safer than going to the beach just because of the current and stuff like that. So many less people."

The Chatham County Sheriff's Office released the following list of other safety tips:

  • Always have a designated adult responsible for watching children near water. Drowning can happen quickly and silently.
  • Stay in designated swimming areas.
  • Enroll in swimming lessons to enhance water competence and confidence.
  • Avoid alcohol and impairing drugs when participating in water activities. Impairment can lead to poor judgment and coordination.
  • Keep an eye on weather conditions and avoid water activities during storms or adverse weather.
  • If boating, ensure all safety equipment, including life jackets, is on board and in good condition. Follow boating regulations and guidelines.
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