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Local News

June 19, 2007

Teen drowns in Laurel River Lake

North Laurel senior was swimming to Three Sisters

A North Laurel High School senior drowned Monday afternoon, after apparently trying to swim 40 yards in Laurel River Lake.

Booker T. Henson, 17, of Patton Road, East Bernstadt, was pronounced dead at the scene by Laurel County Coroner Doug Bowling.

Henson was reportedly swimming toward a rock locally known as the Three Sisters, where he planned to spray paint his girlfriend’s name. His girlfriend, whose name was not released, was vacationing out of state at the time.

Henson had hiked to the lake’s shore with a 16-year-old coworker, whose name was also not released. Henson and the girl were employed at Arby’s.

“She said he took off swimming, went under and didn’t resurface,” said Brian Reams, director for the Laurel County Division of Public Safety and Emergency Management.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Deputy Albert Hale said the distance from the bank to the rock is about 40 yards. The girl told authorities he only made it about halfway across before he went under.

Henson was clothed in a red T-shirt and baggy, athletic shorts. He was not using a personal flotation device.

Reams said the girl jumped into the water and tried to help Henson, but was unable to find her friend. She then quickly ran up the trail, where cell phone service was available, to summon help.

The call was paged out at 12:42 p.m.

The London-Laurel County Rescue Squad and Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County started searching for Henson with three boats, using an underwater recovery camera. The body was spotted on screen less than three hours after Henson disappeared beneath the lake’s surface.

Rescue divers Joe Gregory and Curtis Goss recovered the body at 4:04 p.m., in the general vicinity of where Henson was last seen, Reams said. The body was found in 13 to 16 feet of water and was not snagged on anything.

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