Father drowns while on pontoon on Lake Norman

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Jeffery Cooper drowned after jumping off a pontoon boat on Lake Norman on Saturday, officials say. (Credit: Cooper's family)

The body of a man was recovered on Saturday after officials responded to calls of a possible drowning on Lake Norman, authorities said.

The man, who was on a boat with several other people, was reported missing after he went into the water and never resurfaced. A life jacket was found shortly later and a search began, Iredell Public Safety said.

The man has been identified as Jeffery Cooper Jr., 32. His mother told FOX 46 that he went into the water trying to save someone else who was in distress. She also said she did not know anyone who was on the boat with Jay, and that she was surprised none of them reached out and contacted her.

"I been trying to stay busy in between breakdowns i have tried to find things to do but every 30 minutess to an hour I break down again."

The incident happened around 2 p.m. and the body was found at 6 p.m., about 50 yards from where he was last seen, authorities confirmed to FOX 46.

His mother said Jay had a rough life but recently turned it around.

"Jay had a hard life. He went through a lot of things but I can say the last few months he changed. He accepted Christ in his life, he got baptized and he was working hard. He became an assistant manager at his job. He was building a relationship with his family and son. He loved Christ and he loved the lord."

This is an ongoing investigation. We will have more information on this as it comes in.

UPDATE: Since the story originally aired, a person on the boat touched base with the family. The family tells me they have closure now and it makes more sense. 

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