Byrnes student drowns while swimming in Lake Keowee

Published on Monday, June 19, 2017

A Wellford teen drowned while swimming Sunday morning in Lake Keowee.

The Oconee County Coroner reported that Dillon Ray Spears, 15, died when he attempted to swim in a cove at Falls Creek Landing, according to reports.

Spears just finished 9th grade at Byrnes Freshman Academy, and would have been entering the 10th grade at Byrnes High School this fall, according to Melissa Robinette, spokesperson with Spartanburg District Five. Counselors will be available at Byrnes Freshman Academy Monday. 

Spears and another swimmer were at Falls Creek Landing when it appeared Spears appeared to be returning from their point of entry. Reports came in at 9:50 a.m. that a swimmer went under water and didn’t resurface.

Divers located the swimmer about 10:30 a.m. in 19 feet of water and approximately 30-40 yards offshore, according to reports. CPR was initiated but Spears did not respond.

The coroner identified Spears and pronounced him dead on the scene at 10:54 a.m. The death was ruled accidental and no autopsy will be ordered, according to the Coroner.

The other swimmer was unharmed.

“The District Five family is heartbroken over the loss of yet another student this year.  Dillon is remembered fondly by former teachers and will be greatly missed.  Our hearts and prayers are with his family,” Superintendent Dr. Scott Turner stated.




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