Teen recalls final moments before friend went missing in Cooper River

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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Crews continued searches in the air and on the water for a missing teenager who disappeared in the waters of the Cooper River Wednesday afternoon.

Multiple agencies including the Coast Guard, SCDNR, Pimlico Fire Department and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office searched the Cooper River with divers, helicopters and boats for a second day in search of a missing juvenile swimmer.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office says it first received a call about three juveniles who jumped off the train trestle into the river near Strawberry Chapel Road on Wednesday. Two of the juveniles were located and pulled from the water.

Among the two pulled from the water was Keaton Pool, who spoke to us about the moments leading up to his friend’s disappearance:

“(He) jumped off before we even got here and so he did it perfectly fine the first time and then he jumped off again while we were here and did it perfectly fine,” says Pool.

Pool says all three of the boys had jumped off the train trestle Wednesday afternoon, but one never got out of the water.

“He jumped into like a really bad current and when he was swimming he wasn’t moving at all so everyone was telling him just to calm down and control your breathing and all that,” says Pool.

Pool says his friend was swimming but not moving and that’s when he heard the call for help.

“He just stopped moving for a second and then started floating and said help and that’s whenever I just threw off all my stuff and just jumped in and he was probably like a football field away down already,” says Pool.

Pool says the group of friends at the trestle threw wooden two by fours into the water for the swimmer to grab but were too late.

“I ended up coming on to a bank and then I ran over to him, my leg got caught halfway in the mud and then I cried for help and turned around and I just didn’t see him anymore,” says Pool.

That’s when friends called deputies. Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis says there has been at least 12 divers in the water searching in areas up to 35 feet deep with 3 to 4 feet of visibility.

“At this point it’s a recovery for us, unfortunately we made every effort yesterday to successfully have a rescue,” says Sheriff Lewis.

Pool says this should serve as a wake up call for other teens looking to swim in the popular spot.

“Yeah I just told everybody it was stupid like don’t go there because it’s not going to be worth it,” says Pool.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office has set up a command center and says they will continue recovery efforts for as long as safely possible.

News 2 is still working to learn the age and identity of the victim. Count on News 2 to bring you the latest information as we learn more.

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