Drowning Victim Fell from Boat
Ben Priest and a group of friends stood at the edge of the farm pond watching intently as rescue divers searched for the body of a man who had fallen out of a fishing boat.
Divers later found the body of Darell Marquis Kelly, 26, of Southern Pines, who drowned in the pond behind the Priest family home at 365 Bibey Road outside Whispering Pines.
Priest said he and two of his friends were the first to go into the pond looking for Kelly after his cousin, Darriet Patterson, of Aberdeen, came to their home just after 1 p.m. seeking help.
"We searched for about 10 or 15 minutes until we ran out of breath," Priest said.
Emergency responders ordered the young men out of the pond for their own safety, and rescue divers were called in.
Divers recovered Kelly's body at 4:15 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Patterson, 23, told deputies with the Moore County Sheriff's Office that he and Kelly were fishing in a johnboat and that Kelly stood up in the boat complaining of a cramp, according to the incident report.
Patterson said he heard something and then a splash, and that when he looked back, he saw Kelly in the pond and the boat filling up with water.
Patterson told deputies that when he jumped into the water, the boat turned over. He swam to shore. When he reached the shore, he looked back to see Kelly swimming toward the bank. He said Kelly went under the water twice.
He said he ran to his truck to get a phone to call for help, but found that the vehicle was locked. He then ran to the Priests' home.
Ben Priest said he and his friends were inside on a lunch break from painting when Patterson knocked on the door about 1:05 p.m. asking for help.
Jane Priest called 911 as the others went to the pond to attempt to find the victim.
Ben Priest said he didn't know Patterson and was unaware that someone was out fishing in the pond.
Rescue vehicles and emergency personnel circled the pond as three divers along with two, two-person boat teams searched the four-acre pond. Kelly's body was found by a local dive team about 25 to 30 feet from the shore and about 25 feet from the capsized boat.
Emergency responders from the Moore County Sheriff's Office, Whispering Pines Fire and Rescue, Moore County Public Safety, Cypress Pointe Fire and Rescue, Seven Lakes EMS and Seven Lakes Fire Department responded to the scene.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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