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Patrick Halstead

The U.S. National Whitewater Center employee who had to be pulled from the Catawba River by coworkers on Wednesday has died.

On Friday, family members wrote on Facebook that Patrick Halstead died after being taken off life support.

Halstead had been hospitalized in serious condition since Wednesday evening, when he dropped his keys into the river near a dock as he finished his workday at the Whitewater Center in northwest Charlotte.

Another staff member who was on the dock said Halstead swam down several times but then didn't come back up, according to a statement from the Whitewater Center. That staff member began searching for Halstead and was soon joined by several other coworkers who arrived to help.

Then, Halstead was found floating unconscious, officials said. Two staff members pulled him to the dock and began CPR.

The water in the area was about 4 feet deep and was calm with no current, according to the Whitewater Center.

Paramedics airlifted Halstead to an area hospital.

As Halstead's family waited for signs of recovery, friends began posting thoughts and prayers for the family on a Facebook page called "Praying for Patrick."

His uncle, John Ketzel, wrote on his Facebook page Thursday that doctors had cooled Halstead's body temperature and planned to gradually increase his temperature to evaluate his condition. Halstead was on a ventilator, he wrote.

But then on Friday, Ketzel wrote that Halstead had been taken off life support.

"I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support for Patrick," Ketzel said. "Now it is time to lift up his family and pray for them... Patrick's job was finished here on earth and now he is singing with the angels in heaven. "

Halstead grew up in Ocean Springs, Miss., according to reports. He's survived by his parents, siblings and a young son.

Relatives said they will have a memorial service for Halstead at 3 p.m. Sunday at Providence Road Church of Christ in Charlotte.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Oct. 6, 2012
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