A 54-year-old Charleston man was attempting to untangle his cast net from the James Island County Park fishing dock 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 drowning was the cause of death, Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal said.

Witnesses told police the incident happened just before 8 p.m. when the victim's cast net was caught on the pier. Several park guests offered to help him retrieve the net but he became upset, according to the report.

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 states.

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. His body was recovered near the dock about an hour later.

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.

Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589, aparas@postandcourier.com or on twitter at twitter.com/andyparas.