High school senior drowns while swimming in a pond; friends tried to save him

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LILLINGTON, North Carolina — Authorities say a high school senior has drowned while swimming in a pond near Lillington.

Multiple news sources report 18-year-old Justice Clark was one of seven people swimming to an island in a pond off U.S. 421 Monday evening when he started having trouble and went underwater. Officials say his friends tried to save him. One of the people swimming with Clark says he thinks Clark panicked.

Local residents say the lake is an old gravel pit that's now filled with water. Swimming and fishing is prohibited, but many still do. The lake is shallow in some areas and deep in others.

Clark was a student at Harnett Central High School. The Harnett County School District said counselors will be at both schools Tuesday for anyone who needs them.

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