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SC veteran seeks help to find prosthetic leg after falling off boat

Karl Harbath lost his prosthetic leg in Lake Wateree last month after falling off a pontoon boat.
Karl Harbath lost his prosthetic leg in Lake Wateree last month after falling off a pontoon boat.((Source: Karl Harbath))
Updated: Jun. 6, 2019 at 5:54 PM EDT
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LAKE WATEREE, S.C. (WIS) - Being thrown from your boat in choppy water and having to float back to shore is a scary enough moment for anyone.

For one veteran, it was so much more as the water swept away his prosthetic leg. Karl Harbath said he accidently fell off his friends boat on May 20 at Lake Wateree. It’s a moment he said he never wants to relive.

“We were out there all day long, fishing and swimming,” Harbath said. “We were at the lake for, I don’t know, six hours or so and we decided to head back to the arena and call it day and, on the way back, it was about as choppy as this right now and I made the mistake of standing up on the boat. It was a pontoon boat and I was too close to the edge and my leg anyway, my balance is off set and I fell and went right over the edge. I couldn’t calm down.”

Karl Harbath lost his prosthetic leg in Lake Wateree last month after falling off a pontoon boat.
Karl Harbath lost his prosthetic leg in Lake Wateree last month after falling off a pontoon boat.((Source: Karl Harbath))

As Harbath fought through the choppy water, he had to float back to shore.

“We just grabbed underneath the boat and I had another friend that was on the boat and, luckily, he didn’t jump in. He stayed on the boat he steered us right to the shore,” Harbath said.

While in the water, he lost his prosthetic leg in about 23 feet of deep water on the left hand side of the Horton Cove shoreline, which is on the Camden side of Lake Wateree.

Harbath lost his leg in a work accident back in 2012. Since then, walking with a prosthetic right leg has become reality.

“It’s similar to this,” Harbath said. “It’s got a rubber foot on it and this is all titanium and this is the socket and then I have to wear a sleeve that comes up to here, but I don’t have that leg.”

Now, he’s eagerly searching for what keeps him standing.

“I talked to people about it and they said, ‘Why don’t you put it on a website?’” Harbath said.

He posted his story on Facebook and, after hundreds of shares, “within half an hour, I had people calling me up, wanting to go find my leg.”

While Harbath’s prosthetic leg is still not found, he said he has hope it’ll be found, and learned his one lesson.

“Don’t stand on the boat,” he said. “Isn’t that a cardinal rule?”

Harbath is offering a $3,000 dollar reward if found.

He did not have insurance on the prosthetic leg, so buying a new one, he said, would cost about $33,000 dollars.

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