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Water slide death ruled a drowning

Illinois man died Monday after accident at Lake Lanier waterpark

POSTED: July 8, 2011 12:22 a.m.

The Hall County Sheriff's Office has ruled the Monday death of an Illinois man at Lake Lanier Islands Resort an accidental drowning, Sheriff's Office spokesman Col. Jeff Strickland said Thursday.

Sergio Edwards, 21, of Dolton, Ill., reportedly rode down one of the waterpark's waterslides, the FunDunker, at 7:31 p.m.

When he didn't exit the pool at the bottom of the ride, a park visitor notified lifeguards between one and four minutes later, Strickland said.

A rescue team from the Hall County Fire Department responded and administered CPR to Edwards, who was unresponsive when he was rescued.

Edwards was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he later died at 2:30 a.m.

Grier Todd, chief executive officer of the resort, which includes the large waterpark, in a statement called the FunDunker a "popular attraction."

The ride begins with an enclosed tube that empties the rider into an open funnel-shaped bowl. Riders swirl around the bowl before falling through a hole at the center of the funnel into a deep pool of water.

Strickland said the ride had been functioning all day Monday without any reported problems. The ride has been a feature at the waterpark since 1998, and Todd said Wednesday this is the first serious accident related to the attraction.

Todd declined to comment further Thursday but offered condolences to Edwards' family.

"Obviously, we are very saddened and extend our deepest sympathy to the family," he said.

Strickland said investigators are still waiting for the full autopsy report.



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