4 pulled to safety after boat hits Santee Cooper dam, sinks

4 pulled to safety after boat hits Santee Cooper dam, sinks
Published: Jan. 6, 2016 at 8:07 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2016 at 9:55 PM EST
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Photo Source: Arthur Wimmer III
Photo Source: Arthur Wimmer III

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Cross man survived a frightening ordeal, losing his recently-purchased boat after running into Santee Cooper's Spillway Dam Monday.

Arthur Richard Wimmer, III, of Cross, and three other people climbed to safety with the help of Santee Cooper dam employees.

Wimmer says he purchased the 1988 28-foot Tracker-3 Criton pontoon boat the week before.

The sinking happened Monday morning, according to a South Carolina Pubic Service Authority incident report.

Wimmer told authorities there were high winds on the lake and he had put drift socks in the water. He said when the boat was 20 yards from the buoys, he put the boat into reverse with full throttle, but the boat wouldn't stop. He said that's when he knew he was in trouble.

Wimmer told the three passengers to cut the drift socks loose, but boat was too close, and the current pulled the boat into the spillway.

The spillway had been spilling water for several days.

"I am told the boaters are very lucky," Santee Cooper spokeswoman Molle Gore said when asked about the level of danger the boaters faced. "The boat was pulled under," she said.

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