There were two drownings in four river-related incidents in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in northern Georgia last weekend, largely due to the first nice weather in months combined with high water levels on the river.
On Saturday, March 6th, a fisherman was swept into some rapids just below the Jones Bridge area, which flipped him upside down in his float tube. The fisherman was unable to upright himself and was underwater for approximately five minutes. CPR was begun by a fellow fisherman, but was unsuccessful. The fisherman was wearing a life jacket.
On Sunday, March 7th, two men were in a boat that struck a rock just below McGinnis Ferry. Both men were thrown from the boat when it capsized. Another boater in the area witnessed the accident and was able to save one of the two men, but was unable to locate the other. Search efforts continued until he was found around noon the next day when a spotter in a Georgia State Patrol helicopter located the body about two miles downstream from the accident scene. Rangers then recovered it. Personnel from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and from the Johns Creek, Forsyth County and Gwinnett County Fire Departments all played key roles during the entire SAR. Neither of the men were wearing life jackets.
The other two incidents involved overturned canoes and a fisherman caught in the rising water by a scheduled release from Buford Dam, both resulting in only minor injuries.
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