Coroner: Drowning victim died just days before his birthday

Berkeley County Search and Rescue Teams

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- A boat capsized on Lake Moultrie right outside Moncks Corner Sunday. The accident killed a 19-year-old Ladson man just days before his birthday.

Bill Salisbury of Berkeley County Search and Rescue says Robert Daniels accidentally drowned around 12:55 p.m., when the boat he was on got caught in the middle of a storm.

Chief Scott Lee of the Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department says six people were on board the 22-foot{}boat, similar to a{}pontoon boat, when it turned over near the Pinopolis Dam. The people on the boat tried to pull up their anchor, but before the anchor reached the boat, waves washed the boat over.

"They were fishing at an anchor when that storm came up and they made an attempt to free the anchor and the storm was moving very rapidly and then when they attempted to free the anchor the motor stalled out," Bill Salisbury says.{}"They never were able to free the anchor and the boat started taking on water."

Salisbury says that five people were rescued after swimming to the nearest dam. Daniels was also found on the dam. He would have celebrated his birthday on Tuesday.

"They were about 100 yards from the dike when they started taking on water. They were able to swim over to the dike but in the process one person did not make it and died," Salisbury says.

Witnesses at the boat landing, who knew the group, say Daniels died while saving a double amputee passenger. That passenger disputes the accounts saying his wife is the one who pulled out a life jacket and saved him.

Bill Salisbury says he has{}been in the rescue squad for 42 years and has seen{}many people lose their lives{}after getting caught in a storm.

"This lake is very treacherous when you see a storm coming up you need to try to get to the nearest landing and get off the lake. This storm was moving very rapidly and it just caught them and they were unable to get the anchor up and get out of there," Salisbury says.

"This lake can be like glass, and a storm comes up and it could have six or eight foot swells and an hour later it can lay down like glass again."