Two men drown at Lake Thurmond

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Two men are dead after an accident at Lake Thurmond Saturday, June 17. Could the tragedy have been avoided?

It was the first drowning in two years in McDuffie County.

What began as a fishing trip at Lake Thurmond ended with two men drowned, and those left behind trying to figure out what happened and why.

It took two dive teams, the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, and the Department of Natural Resources hours of intense searching before they were able to find 24-year-old Christopher Wimberly, Jr., and his friend, 29-year-old Ibea Outley.

The two were fishing with four other friends on an embankment on Lake Thurmond near the city of Raysville.

"I couldn't understand why they were out of the boat fishing," one boater remarked. "Normally when you fish you stay on the boat."

The coroner tells News 12 that one of the men, wearing a life vest, waded into the water. When he appeared to be sinking, Outley went in after him.

But once Outley reached his friend, he too began to go under.

Another friend desperately swam out to help but could not rescue him.

Somehow during the scramble to save Outley, Wimberly had also drowned.

The man wearing the life vest survived.

"Very seldom have I seen people fishing on that embankment," said another visitor to the lake. "The whole story just don't seem to go together."

No foul play is suspected. The illusion of shallow water near parts of the cove may have played a role in the deaths of the two men.

An autopsy report released June 19 from the McDuffie County Coroner's Office shows that the drownings were accidental.