HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- If it seems like more people are dying on Lake Lanier this year, it’s because they are.
So far this year there have been 19 deaths at Lake Lanier. In all of 2015, there were nine deaths at the lake. Speaking on the sharp increase, the Department of Natural Resources said, “the only factor that we can determine that has caused the number to more than double this year is the good weather.”
“There have been very few days that have been “rained out” in north Georgia this summer which leads to more people heading to the lake to boat or swim,” DNR Public Affairs Officer Mark McKinnon said.
The DNR classifies lake fatalities as either drownings or boating accidents. A death is only considered a drowning if the person dies after leaving, “any vessel that is in motion – drifting, floating freely, or under power.”
Every other drowning death is classified as a boating fatality.
The DNR is not legally required to track or investigate drownings. In fact, McKinnon notes that local law enforcement agencies are also not legally required to report drownings to DNR, even though many typically do. This makes the number of fatalities classified as drownings an unofficial figure.
The number of fatalities this year could rise as authorities continue their search for missing UGA student Lam Dang Ma. He went missing at the lake after heading out on a kayak.
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