Two anglers killed in unrelated incidents

Mark O’Neal was fishing below Blewett Falls Dam when his boat capsized.

Pee Dee, Wateree Rivers claim lives of anglers

Tragedy struck for two anglers and their families on separate rivers in the Carolinas this spring. A 61-year-old angler perished while fishing on April 29, and a 15-year-old died during a fishing trip on May 5.

Pee Dee River

Mark O’Neal of Rockingham, NC was fishing below Blewett Falls Dam on the Pee Dee River when his boat capsized. Authorities began searching for O’Neal when he didn’t return from fishing on April 29, which raised concern among his family.

O’Neal had been fishing with his dog, which rescuers found alive on May 1. Unfortunately, they found O’Neal’s lifeless body the next day.

Wateree River

Youth angler Chase Wyatt Newman was fishing with a group of friends on the Wateree River near Pine Tree Creek when he was killed on May 5.

The boat Newman was riding in was struck by another boat. The parties in both boats were friends and were fishing together during the outing.

Both the NCWRC and SCDNR offer and encourage all boaters to take a Boating Education Course. These courses are mandatory for boaters born after a certain date, but they are optional and beneficial to boaters of other ages as well.

The courses are free. Numerous sites across both states provide the training, and boaters can also opt to take an online course through the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators.

To find a boating course near you, check or

About Brian Cope 2605 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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