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DNR team investigates how man drowned

Hoschton man's body recovered from Lake Lanier near capsized boat

POSTED: January 8, 2013 12:15 a.m.

Authorities were trying Monday to determine how a 54-year-old Hoschton man drowned in a boating accident on Lake Lanier.

Robert Armistead was aboard a 12-to-14-foot Jon boat when it capsized Sunday morning about 10 feet from shore near Aqualand Marina in South Hall County.

“We don’t know if he stood up or reached over ... but the boat turned over and he didn’t have any personal flotation devices,” said Sgt. Kiley Sargent, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

There is nothing otherwise suspicious about the incident, which was reported to authorities by a caller at 10:30 a.m.

“We are treating this as an accidental drowning,” Sargent said.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Critical Incident Response Team is “working to determine what happened,” spokeswoman Robin Hill said.

The response team “is a group of specially trained rangers who use the latest technology to reconstruct incidents and accidents ... to determine cause,” she said.

Hall County Fire Department rescuers, along with Georgia State Patrol aviation and law enforcement, searched the area by shore sweep, boat search and air surveillance after arriving at the scene.

Members of the sheriff’s office dive team also searched for a potential second victim but determined there was no other victim.

Armistead’s body was found an hour into the search and later sent to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy and toxicology screen.

Fishing gear and tackle were found at the scene.

“From what I understand, the family said he had left out that morning to go fishing,” Sargent said.

Autopsy results should be finished soon, but “sometimes the toxicology (report) takes a while to come back (to authorities),” he said.

Memorial Park South Funeral Home in Flowery Branch is handling arrangements.


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