Lake death brings call for caution from sheriff

10:00 am | October 22, 2013

Authorities believe that a boating accident may have resulted in the death of a Carter County man while he was fishing over the weekend.

On Sunday night, the body of Landon Walter Campbell, 61, Roan Mountain, was discovered in Watauga Lake after his boat was found abandoned and damaged near a small island.

Emergency responders – including the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, Carter County Emergency and Rescue Squad, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency – spent most of the day looking for Campbell after passersby discovered his boat around 10 a.m. Sunday. Upon further investigation of the crash site, Sheriff Chris Mathes said it appeared Campbell ran afoul of the rocky island.

“Mr. Campbell went fishing on Saturday evening and did not return,” Mathes said. “Our belief is … when he hit the rocks, he was thrown from the boat into the lake. He had a large amount of clothing on, and that’s where he drowned.”

Mathes would later learn that Campbell was an avid fisherman who enjoyed spending his time on Watauga Lake. Despite that familiarity, Mathes thinks that the rocky island may have caught Campbell by surprise.

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