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Woman jumped into Midlands lake but never resurfaced; now a search is on, officials say

Dive teams from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources are searching Lake Wateree for a woman who jumped from a pontoon boat Sunday night but never resurfaced.
Dive teams from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources are searching Lake Wateree for a woman who jumped from a pontoon boat Sunday night but never resurfaced. File photo

Crews searched Lake Wateree for a woman who jumped in the water Sunday night but never resurfaced, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, or DNR.

The search was suspended at 9:30 p.m. Monday, DNR tweeted, adding it will resume Tuesday morning.

Officers were called to Lake Wateree around 8:40 p.m. Sunday, DNR officials said in a news release. They were told a woman jumped off a pontoon boat and was not seen again.

The boat, which was carrying several people at the time, was drifting, DNR tweeted.

DNR spokeswoman Kaley Lawrimore said the boat was put in the water at Wateree Marina, which is located just off SC-97 in Kershaw County.

Crews postponed the search at 1 a.m. Monday, but resumed it at 7 a.m., according to the news release.

“It’s a recovery at this point,” DNR Capt. Robert McCullough said in an interview with The State.

McCullough said a location on the lake has been pinpointed where DNR expects to recover the woman’s body, adding “We’ll be diving until we find her.”

Additional details about the woman and the events surrounding her disappearance were not available.

The woman was identified as a 22-year-old, WIS reported.

Fairfield County Fire and Rescue and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the search.

Kershaw County Coroner David West confirmed his office has been contacted about the search, but said no body had been found as of 4:30 p.m.

Lake Wateree is 30 miles northeast of Columbia and has 216 miles of shoreline, according to DNR. While the average depth of the lake is 6.9 feet, the water goes as far down as about 225 feet in its deepest spot, per DNR.

McCullough said it has been a year or two since there was a water recovery at Lake Wateree.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With summer approaching and weather warming, it's time to keep these water safety tips in mind, as provided by the Placer County Sheriff's Office.

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Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.
Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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