Kathlyn Pattillo
Photo: CaringBridge
Photo: CaringBridge

Woman seriously injured after hit-and-run boat incident on Lake Burton

A woman was seriously injured when a boat hit her while she was swimming in Rabun County, officials said. 

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident as a hit-and-run, spokesman Mark McKinnon said in a statement Tuesday. 

The 29-year-old woman, identified in a CaringBridge post as Kathlyn Pattillo, was swimming in Lake Burton behind a home on Kubler Lane on Thursday. A passing boat then hit her, causing injuries to her arm and head, McKinnon said. 

Doctors said the injuries were likely caused by a boat propeller, the CaringBridge post said. The propeller cut through Pattillo’s skull and arm, it said. 

“From the impact, she must have been knocked out, but when she came to, she managed to tread water,” the post said. “While holding her severed arm, she was able to kick her feet and somehow swim (to shore), screaming in pain.” 

A deck boat in the area heard Pattillo’s cries for help, called 911 and rendered aid until an ambulance arrived, McKinnon said. 

The woman was flown to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville and is expected to make a full recovery, according to the post.

“The doctors cannot believe that she survived the swim in the lake and did not bleed out or drown,” the post said. “Everyone says she is lucky to be alive.” 

DNR officials are still trying to find the boat. Anyone who might have seen the hit-and-run or can provide a description of the vessel is urged to contact Game Ward First Class Joe Hill at 229-539-1820. 

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