ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (January 8, 2020) – The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office honored four citizens for saving a child from drowning at a ceremony held on January 7. Sheriff Chris Bowman presented plaques to Scott Lingerfelt, James Wycoff, and Jason Southerland in appreciation for their heroic efforts. The child’s brother, Aaron Bentley, was unable to attend and receive his plaque due to military duties.
The incident occurred on December 27, 2019 at approximately 11:15 a.m. Alexander County 911 received a call in reference to a possible drowning and a child in the water on Lake Hickory. Members of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Wittenburg Fire Department, Wittenburg and Bethlehem First Responders, and Alexander County Emergency Services responded to a residence located on Swan Lane in the Wittenburg Community.
Emergency personnel arrived on the scene and found that a child had fallen into the lake. There were three men across the cove who were working on remodeling a house, who initially thought they heard a cat screaming but then realized that it was a child screaming for help, with the sound coming from the water. They ran next door to a neighboring dock, where they could hear the child yelling “help me.”
Scott Lingerfelt, one of the carpenters, then jumped into the water fully clothed and began swimming toward the child. Lingerfelt swam approximately 40 yards to reach the child. At the time, the water temperature was believed to be 45-50 degrees.
As Lingerfelt swam to the dock, James Wycoff, the homeowner where the men were working, called 911. Lingerfelt swam to the dock with the child where the child’s brother, Aaron Bentley, arrived along with Jason Southerland, another carpenter. Bentley helped pull the 6-year-old from the lake. The child was transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center, where he was evaluated and released.
Sheriff Bowman would like to thank these citizens for their help in saving this child’s life.