A Sunday morning fishing trip turned tragic after a canoe overturned resulting in two individuals drowning.
Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown identified the two men as brothers – 44 year old Xao Le and 28 year old Cong Le – both of Jacksonville.
According to the website al.com, the pair had been fishing with nets when their canoe overturned at around 1:00am near Robins Mill Road in Ohatchee. A cousin – who was standing on a nearby bank – witnessed the accident and ran for help.
However, by the time he returned with help, both men had gone under – after one of the two had apparently become entangled in the net. Reports indicated that neither victim was wearing a life vest.
Rescue crews recovered the body of Xao at around 2:00am, while Cong was recovered at around 7:00am. Both were less than fifty feet from shore – however the cold temperature of the water at that time of day may have contributed to their inability to swim to shore, since muscles contract quickly under such conditions.
The pair had apparently been net-fishing at night – which is illegal.
According to the Anniston Star, net-fishing uses various sized nets made of fishing line – usually attached to the bank at one end and then stretched across the water – weighted at the bottom with floats attached to the top of the net.
A spokesperson for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, said fishing with nets, as the brothers were doing, is illegal at Lake Neely Henry – as is fishing at night. He added that hauling in a large net heavy with fish, requires a stable platform and using a canoe as the two victims were doing – was extremely dangerous.