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Second drowning reported at popular Atlanta area lake

Investigators say he fell off a jet ski while waiting to load it onto a trailer. However, he wasn't wearing a life vest and couldn't swim.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- Authorities were called to the scene of yet another reported drowning on Lake Lanier just hours after responding to the death of a 61-year-old man.

Hall County Fire Services, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and crews from Forsyth County were called to the area of Shoal Creek Park in South Hall on Saturday afternoon. Initial reports suggest a jet ski overturned while the rider attempted to bring it up to a boat ramp on Lake Lanier.

A Hall County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, later confirmed a man had fallen into the water while waiting for a family member to back down the boat ramp so the jet ski could be loaded on it.

Wilbanks identified the victim as 31-year-old Reginald Terrell Whitehead of Perry, Georgia. He said that Whitehead was not wearing a life vest at the time he went under and couldn't swim.

RELATED: 6-year-old may have been underwater for 10 minutes before being recovered

He added that when family members first noticed he was in distress, one attempted to rescue him while another threw a floatation device to him.

However, attempts to save Whitehead were not successful.  Hall County divers attempted for a full hour to find him but ultimately turned the search over to the Georgia Department of National Resources who located his body with an underwater remote vehicle around 10:45 p.m. Fire services divers recovered his body at about 11:30 p.m.

His body is now being taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

A dangerous day on the water

Earlier in the day crews pulled the body of a man from the lake after receiving a report of a possible drowning around midnight. 

Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks with the Hall County Sheriff's Office said that when they arrived the body of Michael Thompson had been discovered in the water near his boat dock by a relative.

Emergency responders have also been called to two near drownings in the area. One happened around 12:53 p.m. on Gillsville Highway in Hall County. That's where a 13-year-old boy was taken from a home swimming pool unconscious.  A bystander performed CPR and he was conscious when he was taken from the scene to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite.

The second happened around 4:22 p.m. on Clarks Bridge Road. In this case a 9-year-old boy was pulled from a swimming pool unconscious. Again, a bystander was able to perform CPR and bring the victim back to consciousness before he was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.


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