A small boy is safe today, thanks to heroic efforts from his brother and nearby construction workers who helped after the boy was in the frigid water of the Catawba River after Christmas.
On Friday, December 27, 2019, at approximately 11:15 a.m., Alexander County 911 Center received a call in reference to a possible drowning child in the water on Lake Hickory, said Sheriff Chris Bowman.
Members of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Wittenburg Fire Department, Wittenburg and Bethlehem First Responders, and Alexander County Emergency Services responded to a residence located on Swan Lane in the Wittenburg Community. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and found that a minor child had fallen into the lake.
There were three men across the cove, who were working on remodeling a lake house. The men thought at first that they heard a cat screaming and then realized that it was a child screaming for help, with the sound coming from the water, Sheriff Bowman related.
The carpenters ran next door to a neighboring dock, where they could hear the child yelling “help me.” Scott Lingerfelt, one of the carpenters, then jumped into the water, fully clothed, and began swimming toward the child. Lingerfelt swam approximately 40 yards to reach the child. At the time, the water temperature was believed to be 45-50 degrees.
As Lingerfelt swam to the dock, James Wycoff, the homeowner of the lake house across the cove, called 911. Lingerfelt swam to the dock with the child, where the child’s brother arrived, along with Jason Southerland, another carpenter.
The child’s brother helped to pull the six-year-old from the lake, where he was then carried to Emergency Services personnel. The child was transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center, where he was evaluated.
Sheriff Bowman would like to thank the citizens for their help in saving the little boy’s life.
On January 7, 2020, Sheriff Bowman will recognize the citizens involved in this life-saving event at the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.