20-year-old Coker College student drowns in Hartsville lake

Prestwood Lake in Hartsville (Google Earth)

A 20-year-old Coker College student from Orangeburg has died after apparently drowning in Prestwood Lake off of 5th Street in Hartsville Thursday afternoon, according to a police incident report.

Moustapha Cisse, 20, of Orangeburg, was pronounced dead at the scene near the Coker Boathouse by Darlington County Coroner J Todd Hardee.

The incident remains under investigations by the Darlington County Coroner’s Office and the Hartsville City Police Department, according to Hardee in a news release.

ABC15 News obtained a copy of the police incident report to learn more about what happened.

The incident reports says: “Officers were dispatched to 100 Sonoco Road (Coker boathouse) in reference to someone drowning. When officers arrived on scene and did not immediately find the individual that was supposed to be drowning, several officers attempted to locate a victim by entering the water. Offices were unable to locate the victim because it was too deep. Offices then put up crime scene tape until a diver, (Sgt Specht) could arrive and we recover him.”

The report says the diver had a tough time initially finding the man’s body.

The diver detailed what happened in the report.

He said, “Upon entering the water, I went down in the area I was directed, and found it to be deeper than I expected. There was a log about 8′ deep that was not on the bottom, as I had to descended deeper, I was concerned about having an overhead environment (the log), so I went back up to get a tagline. I attached a tagline to myself so I could be rescued if needed. After this, I descended to the bottom and began with what amounts to a small compass grid search across the area in question. After one pass and one turn, I spotted a light colored object about two feet away from my face. I reached out and discovered that this object was the bottom of his foot. I would estimate that he was approximately 8′ out from the pier, in about 16 feet of water. I ascended with the body and swam over towards the canoe ramp, where he was lifted from the water by other personnel.”

Coker College’s Vice President for External Relations released a statement on the student’s death.

Here’s the statement:

We are deeply saddened by the recent death of one of our own beloved students. He was a sophomore computer science major, and a valued member of the Coker community. We have reached out to his family and extend our most sincere condolences to all of his loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

Campus counseling services have been made available 24/7. We encourage any Coker students, faculty, or staff to contact the Counseling Center if they would like to speak with a professional.

We will provide further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please join us in offering our sympathy to his family, friends, classmates, professors, and all who knew him.

We’ll bring you updates on this as they come in.