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Drowning July 7 was alcohol-related

Aug. 24. By Dave Vieser. The official NC Wildlife report regarding a July 7 boating fatality on Lake Norman cites “a high level of intoxication” as a major factor. The accident took the life of Diego Garcia, who fell and struck his head on the edge of the boat, then lost his balance and fell overboard as the boat was turning near marker R3 near Belle Isle Drive in Cornelius.


The incident took place at 3:38 pm and the 26-year-old’s body was recovered approximately four hours later at 7:27 pm by the Sherrills Ford Fire Dept.

The boat, a 24 foot pontoon, had been rented earlier in the day from Safe Harbor Marina, according to the report. Garcia and eight members of his family  were aboard.

“The occupants admitted to drinking hard seltzers throughout the day and said Garcia was very impaired and at the point of passing out,” according to the report.

Rescue efforts were performed by the Sherrills Ford, Cornelius and Huntersville fire departments, as well as Cornelius Police and NC Wildlife Resources.

No life jacket

While alcohol played a role in Garcia’s death, the report says the operator of the boat was not impaired. The report stated that life vests were on the boat, but there was no indication that they were being used.

The report was issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission five weeks afterr the incident.

Garcia was from Bogota, Columbia.