A 30-year-old deputy from the Anderson County Sheriff's Office died this morning after being involved in a boating accident at Singing Pines Campground in Starr.
Capt. Robert McCullough of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said sheriff's deputies and representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were doing training exercises on Lake Hartwell early Thursday when the accident occurred.
"It appears that three people were ejected from a boat and that the boat came back around and the propeller struck one of the people who had been ejected," he said.
McCullough said the people ejected included at least one Anderson County deputy and at least one person from the Corps of Engineers. He said he was not sure about the agency affiliation of the third person.
Deputy Anderson County Coroner Charlie Boseman said the sheriff's deputy was pronounced dead in a hospital emergency room. Coroner Greg Shore confirmed the deputy's age and said he died at 10:37 a.m. at AnMed Health Medical Center.
The officer's identity has not been disclosed because family members are still being notified of the accident.
The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident because it occurred on a body of water. Two of the agency's investigators are headed to Anderson County now.
County Administrator Rusty Burns said county flags at government buildings are being lowered to half-staff in honor of the deputy. When Anderson County Council members got word of the accident during a budget workshop, they stopped and had a moment of silence for the deputy and his family.
"Our hearts and love and prayers go out to his family," Burns said. "We will be wrapping our arms around this family and the Sheriff's Office family. We stand ready to do anything we can."
Billy Birdwell, a spokesman for the Corps of Engineers, said his agency is still working to gather information on what happened.
The Anderson County Sheriff's Office released a prepared statement around 1:30 p.m.
"The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and family member in an incident that occurred early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with our deputy and his family during this difficult time. We ask that you please allow us this time to grieve and to keep us in your prayers."
The last Anderson County deputy to die in the line of duty was James Alex Burdette.
Burdette had finished his shift when he came across a stranded vehicle in March 2005. He was struck while directing traffic and died of his injuries.
Former Anderson County Sheriff David Crenshaw, who worked as a firefighter after he left law enforcement, died while responding to a car crash in January 2012.
Crenshaw was working with the Pendleton Fire Department when he collapsed on a pump panel and died of a heart attack.
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