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Lake Lanier drowning victim identified

Norcross man went under while swimming at Van Pugh Park

POSTED: June 1, 2008 5:01 a.m.

A Gwinnett County man drowned Tuesday afternoon in Lake Lanier, just days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend begins.

He was identified early today as Marco Antonio Sequra Torres, 18, of Indian Trail Road in Norcross.

Torres was swimming with his friends near the shore of the day use area at Van Pugh Park in Hall County when he had trouble, according to Capt. Scott Cagle with Hall County Fire Services.

Cagle said Torres began yelling for help, but went under the water and didn’t resurface. Friends who were swimming with him at the time called 911 at about 3:30 p.m.

After about 20 minutes in the water, members of the fire department’s dive team were able to find Torres’ body in 10 feet of water about 20 feet offshore, Cagle said. Torres' body was pulled from the water at 4:38 p.m., he said.

Resuscitation efforts by the fire department were unsuccessful, Cagle said, adding that Torres had been in the water for about 1 1/2 hours.

Reviving a victim who has been underwater for that length of time is difficult, Cagle said.

"Being down (underwater without oxygen) that long, we were hoping against the odds, but usually the outcome is a fatality," Cagle said.

Cagle expressed worry about having a drowning in Lake Lanier so close to Memorial Day. The holiday weekend usually draws hundreds to the lake for the traditional start of summer.

Cagle had safety tips for those who want to enjoy the lake by taking a swim.

  • Swim with a friend so you have someone with you in case something goes wrong.
  • Take swimming lessons and know that you can swim. Cagle said people often get into the water when they can’t swim and have trouble when the water gets overhead.
  • Have a flotation device nearby.
  • Cagle said that people need to be even more cautious due to the low level of the lake. "Always know your surroundings," he said. "With the lake down, it’s going to drop off more quickly, and you can get tangled up in tree limbs."

Tuesday’s drowning is the second this year on Lake Lanier.

The body of 46-year-old Broderick Bradford, this year’s first drowning victim on the lake, has not been recovered.

Bradford of Ellenwood went under near a fueling dock at Aqualand Marina after falling from a personal watercraft about 7 p.m. May 4.

Last year, nine people drowned in the lake.


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