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Number of drownings in Lanier climbs to 4 for holiday weekend

Bodies of two men found after boat wreck in Forsyth

POSTED: July 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The number of drownings in Lake Lanier during the holiday weekend rose to four this morning with the discovery of the bodies of two Alpharetta men who drowned late Saturday when their pontoon boat wrecked in Forsyth County. 

The bodies of Lung Mang, 21, and Tha Thang, 23, both of Honor Run in Alpharetta, were found in about 10 feet of water near the boat docks at Port Royale in Forsyth County, according to Karleen Chalker, a spokeswoman with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Mang and Thang were among nine people who had rented the pontoon boat for the evening, including Mang's sister and brother, as well as other relatives and friends, Chalker said.

The pontoon reportedly wrecked while trying to return to Port Royale in a heavy rain and wind storm around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Chalker. The driver of the boat reportedly hit an obstruction in the lake, though exact details of the accident still are under investigation, Chalker said.

Seven of those aboard the pontoon boat were able to get to shore unharmed, Chalker said, but Many and Thang did not. Others aboard the boat stated the two men could not swim and reports indicate that no one on board was wearing a life jacket, Chalker said.  

One passenger was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center on Saturday night for treatment of a cut to his foot. He was treated and released, Chalker said.

A rescue mission was started immediately by units responding to the call, the Forsyth County Fire Department's Dive Team, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol Unit and the Department of Natural Resources, Chalker said, but was ended about 1 this morning due to darkness.

The Forsyth County Fire Department's Dive Team began searching for the two men again around 9 this morning and recovered the bodies of the men around 10 a.m., Chalker said. They were located near each other in about 10 feet of water, approximately 20 feet from the shoreline of a sandbar.

The Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident.

The two deaths mark the third and fourth drownings on Lake Lanier this holiday weekend.

Two teens drowned on Lake Lanier in the first 48 hours of the holiday weekend. Dago Bento Mejia of East Meadow, N.Y., drowned late Saturday afternoon near Bell's Mill Bridge. Ariel Cotuc Chaudjay, 17, of Duluth drowned Friday at a park in Forsyth County.



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