Father, son drown in Lake Adger

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A father and son drowned in Lake Adger Sunday trying to save a five-year-old girl who fell off a boat.

The Polk County Sheriffs Office says that William Butch Jackson, 48, and William Butch Jackson Jr., 21, both of Hendersonville, jumped into the water and did not resurface.

Major Calvin Atkins of the sheriffs office says the initial call came in around 4 p.m. Sunday. The five-year old girl, the daughter of Jackson and sister of Jackson Jr., was sleeping on the pontoon boat while the father and son were fishing. The girl, who was wearing a life jacket, rolled into the water while sleeping. The father jumped in to save her and did not resurface, according to Atkins. The son then jumped in after his father and also did not resurface, Atkins said. Both the men could swim, according to sheriffs office reports.

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The fathers girlfriend and mother of the young girl, who was also on the boat, could not swim. She began screaming and honking the boats horn for help.

Atkins said the accident happened in the Little Jacksons Cove section of Lake Adger, between the dam and the boat landing on the north side of the lake.

Nearby residents heard the mom and came to help. A Lake Adger woman brought the girl to safety. She and her husband, along with other residents with boats, looked unsuccessfully for the father and son while awaiting rescue workers.

Atkins says the accident occurred in about 14 feet of water. He and others speculate that the two got entangled in trees and shrubbery at the bottom of the lake.

The sheriffs office says the search began immediately for the victims, and the Henderson County and Green River dive teams recovered the bodies. The sons body was found around 7:20 p.m. Sunday and the father was found about 30 minutes after, according to the sheriffs office.

Both the bodies have been sent to the state medical examiners office for autopsy.

Atkins says there was no evidence of any alcohol or other substances on the boat.

Several agencies responded to the accident Sunday, including the sheriffs office, N.C. Wildlife, Polk County Emergency Medical Services, Sunny View Fire and Rescue, Mill Spring Fire Department, Columbus Fire Department, Polk County Rescue Squad, Saluda Fire and Rescue, the Polk County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Fire Department, Henderson County Rescue Squad and Green River Fire Department.