After a search and rescue effort and hours of investigating, officers told Eyewitness News what they believe led to a drowning at Lake Norman.
Officers said 31-year-old Quinton James decided to take his father, 53-year-old Herbert James, and a friend, 32-year-old Danel Brown, fishing Monday night.
Sgt. Jeremy Harrill of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said the boat began to fill up with water and started to sink.
"Another fisherman putting on his boat at the access ramp heard their cries for help," said Harrill.
He said the two younger men were struggling and holding onto a cooler to stay afloat. The good Samaritan jumped in and pulled them to safety.
Officers said the 53-year old held onto the boat and eventually drowned.
Early Tuesday, officers recovered his body from the water.
Later, officers searched for hours and eventually found the boat in 29 feet of water.
After inspecting it, they said the plug, which keeps water out of the boat, was missing.
They said the men may have forgotten to put it in place before setting off into the water.
One officer noted that the boat was borrowed and the men may not have known about the plug.
Officers said the accident serves as a painful reminder to people who boat every year. They said none of the men on the boat was wearing a life jacket, but several jackets were found on the boat when they pulled it out of the water.
Officers do not believe that alcohol or drugs played a role in this drowning.
They said Tuesday that they don't plan to file charges against anyone.
They said the two survivors didn't have any major injuries and were recovering at home Tuesday.