Naval officer drowns at Clarks Hill Lake - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Naval officer drowns at Clarks Hill Lake

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:53:13 GMT
    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.More >>
    Multiple sources tell News Leader 9 that a Smiths Station teacher was hit by a train earlier today in Lee County.

    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.
    More >>
  • US, EU preparing new sanctions against Russia

    US, EU preparing new sanctions against Russia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:52 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:52:25 GMT
    European Union ambassadors are meeting to discuss a dramatic toughening of the trade bloc's sanctions against Russia.More >>
    The United States and the European Union are preparing a powerful one-two punch against the Russian economy, with EU ambassadors meeting Tuesday to discuss a dramatic escalation in the trade bloc's sanctions.More >>
  • Israel hits symbols of Hamas power in Gaza war

    Israel hits symbols of Hamas power in Gaza war

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:46 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:46:12 GMT
    Israeli aircraft, tanks and navy gunboats pounded symbols of Hamas control in Gaza City in the heaviest night of bombardment in three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting.More >>
    Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the...More >>

As rangers with the Department of Natural Resources continue patrolling Clarks Hill Lake, they're still trying to figure out how a naval officer could have drowned in these waters. Sunday evening Billy Sims Jr. was spending the day with other military personnel at West Dam Park.

"A couple of the guys that were there with him said that he usually wears a life jacket if he's swimming," said Corporal Brien Hobbins with DNR.

But this time, investigators say Sims wasn't wearing a life jacket when he and four other officers ventured farther into the lake.

"Distances on water can fool you. People say, 'Oh that's not that far,' and they get out there and it's kind of like an optical illusion of how far it is," Corporal Hobbins said.

Park rangers say the officer swam past the roped off swimming area to the buoy and just never made it back.

"Made it about half way and started panicking," Corporal Hobbins said. "The other four came back and tried to help him, but before they could get to him he went down."

Rangers say the four dove several times, but were unable to reach Sims. That's when the Columbia County dive team was called to the scene. Sims' body was found about an hour after he drowned.  Rangers say friends describe Sims as a "fair swimmer."

"Even if we're good swimmers, you know, you might cramp up, you never know what's going to happen; you may panic," Corporal Hobbins said.

Panicking is what investigators believe happened to Sims. They say there were no signs of foul play or alcohol involved in the incident, as they continue the investigation.

Powered by WorldNow