Dozens rescued after strong winds capsize sailboats on Lake Norman

Strong winds capsize several sailboats, more than 20 rescued on Lake Norman

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. — Strong winds whipped up during Wednesday night’s storms flipped more than half a dozen sailboats on Lake Norman, dumping 26 people from a sailing club into the water, officials said.

Emergency crews responded to a boaters in distress call around 5:30 p.m.near Blythe Landing at Lake Norman.

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Officials told Channel 9 that several sailboats capsized and more than 20 people were rescued from the water.

All 26 boaters from the sailing club were accounted for and there were no injuries.

The Huntersville Fire Department said despite the approaching severe weather, the Lake Norman Community Sailing Club still went out on the lake.

The director of the sailing club, Sean O'Donnell, said they always turn back toward land when there is any sign of a storm. Unfortunately, the storm pushed through so quickly, they could not make it back to safety.

“The group that went out, they're pretty hardcore,” said O’Donnell. “They go out every Wednesday. It was not a storm at the time -- they got stuck when things started to escalate."

"The boats were flipping and flipping and flopping," said Huntersville Fire Department spokesman Bill Sutherland.

Channel 9 kept viewers informed about the dangerous storms for hours.

"You need to very much take cover from this storm," chief meteorologist Steve Udelson said on the air as storms pushed through the area. "Stay inside. You do not want to be outside taking pictures."

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