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4 die on Georgia’s lakes, rivers over holiday weekend

Four people died on Georgia’s lakes and rivers over the Fourth of July weekend and 29 people were charged with boating under the influence.
Four people died on Georgia’s lakes and rivers over the Fourth of July weekend and 29 people were charged with boating under the influence.

Four people died on Georgia’s lakes and rivers over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, officials said Monday.

According to data released by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, three people drowned while swimming and a fourth man died after jumping into Lake Lanier from a moving boat and never resurfacing.

Additionally, 29 people were charged with boating under the influence during the three-day holiday period, which ran from 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, DNR spokesman Mark McKinnon said.

The majority of those arrests (9) occurred on Lake Lanier, while three people were charged with BUI on Lake Allatoona, officials said.

The number of people charged with boating under the influence increased from 20 last year, despite the 2019 holiday weekend lasting four days, officials said. Three people died on Georgia’s waterways during last year’s Independence Day festivities.

Of this weekend’s fatalities, two occurred on Lake Lanier.

RELATED: Authorities investigating 2 drownings at Lake Lanier

A 59-year-old Clarke County man died Friday after jumping from a boat near the Duckett Mill Campground about 5:30 p.m., AJC.com previously reported. His body was recovered from the lake about 7 p.m.

He was identified as Bruce Lee Hild of Winterville. Though he drowned, Hild’s death has been classified as a boating fatality since he jumped from a moving vessel, McKinnon said.

The second drowning at Lake Lanier occurred about 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Game wardens responded to Lanier Park near Buford after a 45-year-old man disappeared while swimming at the beach.

His body was eventually recovered by another swimmer, authorities said. He was identified Monday as Jesus Jimenes of Killeen, Texas.

Two other swimmers drowned over the weekend while swimming in South Georgia rivers, officials said. One person died on the Satilla River in Jeff Davis County and the other drowned on the Skidaway River near Savannah. No additional information about those cases was released.

Additionally, two people were injured in three “boating incidents” on Georgia’s lakes over the weekend, according to the DNR. Two of those incidents occurred on Lake Lanier while the third took place on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, officials said.

In 2019, officials reported a total of seven boating incidents, which resulted in three injuries.

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Credit: AJC

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Credit: AJC