OCONEE COUNTY—Authorities are investigating a drowning after a 35 year-old Easley man was found dead late Sunday afternoon on Lake Keowee in a cove near Fall Creek Falls in Salem.
Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said the 911 system was activated at 4:05 p.m., reporting a man “had a seizure and fell into the water” off of the boat he was operating.
Addis identified that man as Charles David Keeney of 115 Gadwall Drive, Easley.
An autopsy performed Monday morning revealed no traumatic injuries and no preexisting medical conditions that would have caused him to have a seizure as reported by the witness, according to the coroner.
“Keeney reportedly could swim; after falling into the lake, he apparently made no effort to swim,” Addis said.
According to the coroner, Witnesses to the incident reported they went into the cove to view the waterfall. An 18-year-old male and two minor children, one who was the subject’s son, were on the boat at the time of this incident.
“Shortly after 4 p.m., the Oconee 911 center received a call that a male had fallen from a boat into Lake Keowee and had not resurfaced,” said Oconee County Fire Chief Charles King. “Local responders and dive teams were alerted. Responders on scene were able to quickly obtain a last seen point from others in the boat and quickly deploy divers.”
“The body of the mid-30’s male was located in the popular “waterfall cove” shortly before 6 p.m.,” King added. “He was not wearing a lifejacket.”
Keeney was found at approximately 5:30 p.m. in a water depth of 38 feet. According to the coroner, Keeney was in water temperatures of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
King cautioned those who boat on the lake to take proper safety precautions.
“As the weather begins to warm up, we encourage everyone to wear a life jacket when in and around our lakes and streams,” King said. “If you are enjoying the water by boat, make sure it is equipped with the required safety equipment for your trip.”
Specimens collected at the autopsy will be forwarded to the SLED laboratory for toxicology analysis.
The manner of death for Keeney is classified as accidental.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources continues to investigate.