Man saves 6-year-old boy from drowning in frigid 45-degree water in Alexander County

A man jumped in 45-degree water to rescue a 6-year-old boy who was screaming 'help me' near a neighboring dock in Alexander County, deputies said. 

The harrowing rescue happened around 11:15 a.m. Friday, Dec. 27 at a residence on Swan Lane in the Wittenburg Community near Lake Hickory. 

According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, as emergency personnel got to the scene, they discovered that a 6-year-old boy had fallen into the lake. Three men had apparently been across the cove and were working on remodeling a lake house when they heard a cat screaming and then realized that it was a child screaming for help in the water. 

The three men ran nextdoor to a neighboring dock, where they could hear the child yelling 'help me.' 

Scott Lingerfelt, one of the carpenters, 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 degrees.

As Lingerfelt swam to the dock, James Wycoff, the homeowner of the lake house across the cove, called 911. Lingerfelt swam to the dock with the child, where the child’s brother arrived along with Jason Southerland, another carpenter. The child’s brother helped to pull the 6-year-old from the lake, where he was then carried to Emergency Services. The child was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center, where he was evaluated.

On January 7, Sheriff Bowman will recognize the men involved in this life-saving event at the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.