Diver cleans underwater trash at Belews Lake

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- For months, FOX8 has been sharing the struggles of trash trouble at Belews Lake.

One man is now diving into the water to see what lurks below the surface.

Adam Flinchum says a lot of people are focused on cleaning up the land, but he says what's in the water is worse.

"There are three tires down there. I can't get those up by myself," Flinchum said.

He uses a wet suit and oxygen tank to get more of the trash at Belews Lake.

"This is my mesh net so I can throw trash in it," he said. "I came out with a friend last week and just did a dive around the docks to see what we've been playing in. It scared me to death."

Monday afternoon, with just two quick dives, he found tires, pieces of metal, cans, bottles and broken glass.

It's too much trash for one person to handle.

"One guy, eight minutes. We need some help," he said, while pouring a bag of trash on the dock.

A couple of years ago, a member of Flinchum's family was injured.

"He jumped off of his boat just to cool off a bit, in waist-deep water," he said. "A broken bottle cut him to the bone. I mean really, really bad. He had to go to the hospital."

He doesn't want to see anyone else injured.

"I just don't think people understand how it all accumulates," said Dan Pfabe, a boater on the lake. "Over time, it's everybody's little bit that piles on and makes it a big deal."

Boaters, like Pfabe, had no idea how much trash was in the water.

"I was just surprised to see how much he got and that's just around here," Pfabe said.

Flinchum hopes more people will want to dive in with him and keep the lake clean.

FOX8 reached out to a Duke Energy representative who said they do not send divers to clean the bottom of the lake.

The spokesman says he applauds Flinchum's efforts and hopes it will help stop people from trashing the area.

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