Boaters rescued 9 hours after boat flipped

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- Three people spent more than nine hours in Lake Moultrie before they were found by rescue teams in Berkeley County early Monday morning.

A spokesperson for the Berkeley County Rescue Squad says family notified them of an overdue boat on Sunday. Family members were not sure where the boaters were going.

"The father said they always go in the river. They never go in the Lake," said Bill Salisbury, chief for Berkeley County Rescue. "So, the sheriff's office spent several hours trying to local their vehicle at the boat landings. They checked all the boat landings on the river all the way to bushy park."

Salisbury says officials never found the victim's vehicle along the river, instead they eventually found the Jeep and trailer at the Russellville Boat Landing.

"We had a starting point then," Salisbury said. "We were called about 10:45 p.m. And we started our search with four rescue boats along with the Department of Natural Resources, one of their boats, and some of their agents."

At 1:30 a.m. Monday, the overturned boat was found in the middle of the lake by a Rescue Squad search boat.

"Two of them, they were so cold. They were stiff, they could hardly move," said Salisbury. "Even when we got back to the landing, we had to assist the two out of the boat and one went up on a stretcher."

Officials say the three boaters, 20-year-old Calvin Cumbee II, 23-year-old Kaleb Caddell, and 21-year-old Jessica Jessup were holding on the boat. Two were wearing life jackets and the third was holding on to a cooler.

"They were able to grab two life preservers and that was very important, but the third party wasn't able to get a life preserver," Salisbury said.

The boaters told rescue crews the boat overturned sometime before 5 p.m. Sunday.

EMS treated them for exposure and hypothermia before the boaters were taken to a local hospital. The condition of the boaters has not been made available.

"I been doing this 44 years and I've seen a lot of deaths, a lot of tragedies on the lake," said Salisbury. "When you can go out and save three lives like we did last night, there's no feeling like it."

So far there's no word what caused the boat to overturn.