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Man dies during Father’s Day on Lake Greenwood

A Father’s Day outing on Lake Greenwood turned tragic Sunday after a Ninety Six man died after swimming near Twin Rivers Landing.

Lionel Benkie James, 30, was pronounced dead at Twin Rivers just after 4 p.m.

According to Laurens County Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek, James and his family and friends rented a pontoon boat at Twin Lakes and headed out to a cove near Cothran Bridge where the family had lunch and swam.

Cheek said James went into the water to retrieve one of the children’s floatation devices and started to experience problems, telling family members he thought he was drowning.

“They said he went down twice, but got back onto the pontoon,” Cheek said.

James then began to experience difficulty breathing and had stopped breathing by the time the 15-minute ride back to Twin Rivers Landing was completed.

A registered nurse, who was coincidentally at the landing, performed CPR until Laurens County EMS arrived. Cheek said EMS crews continued life-saving procedures on James for about 30 minutes before he was pronounced dead on the scene.

Cheek said an autopsy has been performed, but results are still pending.


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