Divers recover body of construction worker who drowned in Lake Hickory

HICKORY, N.C. — Divers have recovered the body of a 24-year-old construction worker who drowned in Lake Hickory Tuesday.

An investigator told Channel 9 that a work crew was sandblasting and painting under the Highway 127 bridge early Tuesday morning when one worker tried to untangle some equipment and fell 15 feet to 20 feet into the water.

Officials said the man, Filigonio Perez Bravo, was not wearing a life jacket.

Another worker jumped into the water, but when he could not find the man, the other workers called 911.

"I can't believe it,” friend Jose Euceda said. “I was working with him for a few hours and he's gone."

Hickory firefighters responded just before 2 a.m. to start searching the 60-feet deep water.

Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue brought sonar equipment to help crews locate the body, but debris in the area hampered the efforts.

Authorities asked employees at the nearby Oxford Dam to limit their operations.

Several people who live in the area said they were concerned that someone could get hurt because of the conditions.

"When they were out there, they never had any safety harnesses on or anything,” resident Heather Semones said. “I was telling my husband it is not safe."

Federal U.S. Occupation Safety and Health officials are investigating the DOT contractor to see if they followed the correct safety procedures.

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