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home : news : law enforcement August 19, 2019

6/14/2019 2:24:00 PM
Missing Teen Found Dead

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

It was not the news we had hoped to report. This reporter saw Emergency Medical Crews packing up their gear at Spencer Mountain shortly after 1 PM Friday. We asked and they confirmed that Ethan Britt had been found--but he was dead.

The 14-year-old went swimming with a friend in a flood swollen South Fork River about 6:30 Monday afternoon. The two boys were swept downstream by the raging current. David Winder was rescued early Tuesday morning after a motorist spotted him on an island in the river. “He’s standing up. He’s OK. He’s just panicked, has no clothes on and wanting help," the caller told the Communications Center.

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Dispatched to the scene, responders got Winder to safety; then sent him to the hospital.  He was treated and released, but the other boy, Ethan Daniel Britt, was not found.  

Multiple agencies searched the rest of the day Tuesday and Wednesday.  With the water level in the river diminishing, the search Thursday was primarily with drones.  On Friday morning, the search continued and about noon a body--believed to be that of Ethan Britt--was found in the river near a dam not far from where the two boys entered the river on Monday.  

Britt's death is the fifth related to the stormy weather of last weekend in our area.  Two Lincolnton men and a friend from Shelby died Saturday night (June 8th) when their vehicle hit water running across Highway 27 at Rock Dam Hill, hydroplaned and ended up in a swollen Rock Dam Creek.  A motorcyclist died Wednesday morning on Highway 73 in far eastern Lincoln County when his motorcycle struck a tree that had fallen across the road--likely because of the heavy rain that had fallen last weekend.  

After the Emergency Medical personnel told us that Britt's body had been found, Gaston County Police held a news conference to announce the tragic results of the search.  


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