Capsize leads to four deaths

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MARCH 21 — Two North Carolina men say they swam for 10 hours, tied together with a shoelace so they wouldn’t become separated, after a boating accident that killed their four friends.

Sean Knight and Virgil Poore were fishing with their friends aboard an 18-foot boat March 15 when it capsized off Ocean Isle, N.C., the Associated Press reported. In a statement, Knight and Poore described how waves swamped and overturned the boat. The six men, all volunteer firefighters, clung to the boat for a couple of hours, then decided to swim to shore about five miles away.

Michael Shope, who was 21, and Archibald McFadyen, 20, both of Raleigh, N.C.; Kevin Bell, 38, of Banner Elk, N.C.; and Nathan Lyerly 22, of Mooresville, N.C., were found by Coast Guard officials after a 10-hour search, according to the report. Officials say the men died of hypothermia. The water temperature reportedly was 58 degrees.

Knight and Poore made it to shore at HoldenBeach at about 10:30 p.m., the report says. They say they lost sight of the other four men at about sunset.

A small-craft advisory was issued for the area, calling for 10-knot winds and waves reaching 2 feet, the report says. Officials say the bad weather, as well as an attached T-top and the number of people on board, contributed to the capsizing.

— Jason Fell