13-year-old boy still missing after Lake Lanier boat crash

BUFORD,Ga.--Search crews and drivers will halt the search for a 13-year-old boy who disappeared after a boat accident at sundown Tuesday evening.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, thesearchwill resume on Wednesday morning. The13-year-old boy disappeared during a boat accident on Monday night.

A 9-year-old boy was also killed andthree relatives were hurt in the crash at about 10:30 p.m.

PHOTOS | Deadly Lake Lanier boat crash

Authorities said the Gwinnett family was out on a pontoon boatin the Shoal Creek area, when their boat was hit head on by a speeding center-console boat, which left the scene. The crash is beingtreated as a hit and run.

"I'm not sure exactly how the other boat didn't see them," Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said Monday night. "There's no doubt these people had their lights on." There were 13 people on board the pontoon boat.

At anews conference Tuesday morning, DNR officials announced the arrest of Paul J. Bennett in connection with the crash.The 44 year oldhairstylist from Cumming is charged with boating under the influence. More charges are possible, including homicide by vessel and failing to give aid.

DNR spokesman Stephen Adamssaid a doctor on aboat near the crash scene helped the victims. They were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and released, according to Kimbrell and the DNR. No names were released.

A DNR ranger responding to the crash Monday night spotted Bennett's boat near Bald Ridge Marina in Forsyth County, according to DNR spokeswoman Melissa Cummings. Investigators found the the boat there later and arrested Bennett at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Adams said Bennett refused medical treatment when he was picked up. He was released on bondTuesday fromthe Hall County jail. A woman who was on the boat with him was not arrested, according to DNR.

The Hall County Sheriff'sOfficesaid it's going to be a very difficult to find the missing teen because the water is upwards of 100 feet deep where he disappeared, and there are still trees standing at the lake bottom. They're working with divers from Hall, Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties andusingsonar to try to locate the boy's body.

The missing 13 year old was not required to wear a life jacket. Georgia law requires children under age 10 to wear life jackets while aboard moving vessels. The 9 year old who was killed Monday was wearing a personal flotation device, Adams said.


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