An Asheville woman drowned in an incident that occurred Friday (April 21) on Lake James.  The victim is 27-year-old Hannah Maria Walker.

On Friday, the Burke County Emergency Communications Center received a call regarding a possible drowning which was occurring at Lake James near the Canal Bridge Boat Access. The caller advised that a female had suffered from an asthma attack while in the water and was no longer breathing.

Witnesses said that the victim had jumped into the water, and after a few minutes she began to not feel well. Knowing that she suffers from asthma, her fiancé gave her an inhaler while she was still in the water. After using the inhaler, the victim’s condition worsened, and she suddenly went unconscious.

There was some difficulty to get the victim out of the water and into the boat, because of the height of the pontoon boat. The fiancé and a friend also struggled to get the boat to shore. A passerby noticed the incident and called 911 while trying to help.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office Lake James Community Officer responded by boat and helped guide the victim’s boat to the Canal Bridge Boat Access. CPR was then started as first responders and EMS were enroute. Lifesaving efforts were made for approximately thirty minutes before the victim was pronounced deceased.

Investigators with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office arrived and processed the scene. The victim was identified as Hannah Maria Walker Her fiancé, five-year-old son, five-week-old daughter, and fiancé’s friend were present during the incident. The death investigation is still ongoing pending an autopsy.

[News release from Burke County Sheriff’s Office]

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