Coroner identifies bodies of missing boaters recovered from Lake Moultrie

VIDEO: Bodies of 2 missing boaters recovered from Lake Moultrie

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Berkeley County Coroner has identified the two victims of a Saturday boating accident whose bodies were recovered Monday morning from Lake Moultrie.

Jake Williams, 51, of Summerville; and Nathaniel Hawkins, 46, of North Charleston, were passengers in a boat involved in an accident on Lake Moultrie, Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said. Both victims were thrown from the boat while the boat was making a turn. Both deaths were ruled accidental.

Divers recovered the bodies of the two men Monday morning, the Berkeley County Rescue Squad has confirmed.

The second body was recovered at 10:45 a.m., according to Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.

A Twitter post at 10:23 a.m. from the Berkeley County Rescue Squad reported the first body had been recovered:

Authorities said the search and rescue mission at the lake that resumed Sunday morning at 8 a.m. had switched to a recovery mission for two people missing since the accident.

According to authorities, a retirement party was underway with several boats out on the lake owned by people having the party during which one of the boats made a left turn, struck a wave, and the force threw all of the occupants out of the boat.

Jacque Bracewell, Jr., was arrested Saturday night on a charge of BUI and a judge set bond at $20,000 Sunday night.

"There was another boat following them that was part of the party, they were able to pick them up and rescue those who were able to be rescued," Salisbury said.

He said one man did all he could to save one of his friends but was unable to get him out of the water.

"We had one gentleman that was holding on to his friend, the gentlemen could not swim and his friend did his very best to hold on to him and he was not able to hold him and he actually went down," Salisbury said.

Salisbury says as they were trying to account for everyone, they realized there was a second person missing.

DNR, the Berkeley County Rescue Squad, and Berkeley County Sheriff's Office searched until 10:30 Saturday night.

Authorities say many of the people didn't know each other which made it difficult to determine who was on the boat. Of the six people rescued yesterday, as least one was taken to the hospital.

Several local fire departments assisted in the search Sunday.

The area where the incident happened about three miles away from Short Stay boat landing. That search was set to conclude by 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The DNR and the Berkeley County Coroner's Office are investigating the case.

Joint Base Charleston released a statement on Hawkins who was an airman assigned to the base.

A U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant assigned to the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) drowned in a boating accident at approximately 8 p.m. on July 23 at Lake Moultrie about three miles from Short Stay Recreation Area.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of life," said Col. Robert Lyman, Joint Base Charleston Commander. "Team Charleston and I extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Chief Master Sergeant Nathaniel Hawkins. His leadership and care for Airmen helped shape the 628th LRS into the successful organization it is today."

Chief Hawkins has served over 28 years in the Air Force, the last six of which have been at Joint Base Charleston.

"Joint Base Charleston would like to thank all of the first responders and our community partners including the Berkeley County Rescue Squad, Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, multiple fire departments and volunteers who are assisting in this situation," said Lyman.

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