• Man who rescued boaters haunted by Lake Norman drowning

    Updated:

    LAKE NORMAN, N.C. - The man who risked his own life to save strangers near the Stumpy Creek Boat Landing in Iredell County says he wishes he could have done more.

    John Alexander and his girlfriend had only been on their boat for about 10 minutes Monday night when he said he could hear people crying for help.

    Herbert James, 53, was on a Father's Day fishing trip with his son and a friend when their boat sank.

    When Alexander got to the scene, he said James' son and his friend were holding onto a cooler to keep afloat, but James was missing.

    "They were terrified. I mean, they were really terrified. You could tell that by the sound of their voices. I'm not sure if they could swim or not, but they would not let go of that cooler for nothing," Alexander said.

    Alexander jumped in, pushed them toward his boat and told his girlfriend to take them to shore. That's when he tried to find James.

    "I dove down two or three times to see if I could see the gentleman," Alexander said.

    He said he could still see a light from the boat as it went under, but he wasn't able to find James -- something he's been struggling to cope with for the last few days.

    "It is hard. Sometimes when I’m asleep, I can still hear them screaming, hollering, ‘Help!’ It wakes me up. It's like I’m reliving the nightmare all over again," Alexander said.

    He said he's glad he was in a position to help, but stops short of calling his actions heroic.

    "Some people say I’m a hero, but I don't see (that) I’m a hero. A hero don't leave no body behind," Alexander said.


    Next Up: