2nd man drowns in Lake Lanier within 24 hours

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Witnesses said a person was on a personal watercraft and was trying to pull it onto a boat ramp at Shoal Creek Park when the watercraft flipped over around 8 p.m.

A Perry man drowned in Lake Lanier Saturday evening after falling from a personal watercraft, authorities said.

The incident was the second drowning death to occur on the lake in less than 24 hours.

The drowning victim was identified as Reginald Terrell Whitehead, 30. The man was on the personal watercraft waiting for a family member to back down a boating ramp when  he fell off, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

RELATED: Gainesville man drowns in Lake Lanier

Hall spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said Whitehead was not wearing a flotation device and couldn’t swim.

“One of the family members saw that the victim was in distress and attempted a rescue, while another bystander also attempted to assist with a throwable flotation device,” Wilbanks said. Both were unsuccessful, he said. Whitehead slipped underwater, and did not resurface.

Hall fire service divers arrived and searched for Whitehead, but could not find him. They turned the search over to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who used sonar equipment  to search the lake.

Whitehead’s body was found about 10:45 p.m. Saturday, and was pulled from the water within an hour. He was taken to the medical examiner for an autopsy.

This case remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.