Long and two other firefighters went into the water to search for a 29-year-old man who jumped off a boat Sunday and didn’t make it out of the water.
Officials said Long and the firefighters experienced an “emergency” in 35 to 75 feet of water, close to where the swimmer went missing. Two divers came out of the water, Long did not officials said.
“A rescue effort was implemented and when they reached him he had already succumb to his injuries,” said Catawba County Emergency Management. The two other firefighters went to Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.
The press conference started at 9 a.m. at Terrell Baptist Church in Sherrills Ford. Long’s family accompanied the officials, who said Long died doing what he loved.
“Our family would like to thank everyone from ALL of the fire and emergency services in Sherrills Ford and Catawba County, all regional agencies who have helped, and friends, family and community members for their support during this difficult and tragic time. We ask for prayers and peace as we take time to grieve and heal today and in the days to come. He passed doing what he loved to do and was passionate about.”