Body discovered during search for submerged vehicle in Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The West Florence Fire Department was called out to 1000 Troon Drive for a vehicle that apparently ended up in Lake Oakdale Saturday night.

Eugene Ludington Epting III, 61, of Florence drowned as a result of the incident, which officials believe it to be an accident, according to Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken. Epting dialed 911 after the vehicle hit the water, von Lutcken confirmed. Epting's vehicle went into the lake at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday.

Major Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the body was discovered by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Sunday morning.

When crews arrived the vehicle had completely submerged. Two West Florence fire fighters entered the water in an effort to search. The fire department's marine unit also responded and searched the area. Later, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources also responded to help out in the search efforts.

The incident is being investigated by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

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