A 54-year-old Charleston man was attempting to untangle his casting net from the James Island County Park fishing pier when he lost his footing and disappeared beneath the water Wednesday night, witnesses told police.
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified the man as Norris White. An autopsy performed Thursday determined that the cause of his death was drowning, Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said.
Witnesses told police the incident happened just before 8 p.m. when the victim’s casting net was caught on the pier. Several park guests offered to help him retrieve the net and he became upset, the report says.
The man climbed down into the water to free it himself. A witness reported that it appears the man lost his footing and struggled to stay above the surface. After a few seconds he disappeared beneath the water, the report says.
One witness ran to the parking lot to get her phone to call 911. Others heard a splash and reported that they quickly lost sight of him, the report says.
Officials from multiple agencies arrived at the scene but didn’t see any sign of the man.
The Charleston County Rescue Squad, the Charleston Police Dive Team, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Dive Team and the James Island Fire Department all helped in the search.