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4 people still missing after boat overturns in Lake Lanier; search efforts curtailed
Incident occurred near Cocktail Cove on Friday afternoon
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From left, Lt. Scott Ware with the Hall County Sheriff's Office, Maj. Stephen Adams with the Department of Natural Resources and Capt. Zachary Brackett with the Hall County Fire Services hold a press conference near Lake Lanier on Friday night regarding a boat accident near Cocktail Cove. A racing-style boat overturned Friday evening and four people aboard remain missing. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Four people remained missing Friday night after a boat overturned on Lake Lanier earlier in the afternoon near Cocktail Cove.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Natural Resources were still searching the lake using sonar.

“The search will continue into the evening, probably overnight at least with some of the SONAR equipment,” DNR Maj. Stephen Adams said Friday evening. “The vessel traffic is very heavy out on the lake right now, and overnight may be our best opportunity to do some of those operations.”

Law enforcement officials provided no other details on their identity or possible fate at a press conference Friday evening near the site.

A call came in to Hall County 911 before 4 p.m. Friday of a single-vessel incident just west of Cocktail Cove on the southern end of Lake Lanier.

DNR, Hall County Fire Services and Forsyth County authorities responded to the scene.

“Upon arrival on the scene, they found an approximate 38-foot, tunnel-hull, racing style vessel partially submerged, and numerous other vessels in the area that were attempting to render aid,” Adams said.

Hall County Marine Rescue divers were searching along with the Sheriff’s Office, DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Adams said Hall County Fire Services’ Marine Rescue Team “exhausted all of their diving supplies.”

The preliminary information, Adams said, was that the boat encountered a wake before overturning.

“It was traveling down the lake at a decent speed,” Adams said.

Officials said they believe the occupants of the boat were involved with the Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run, but Adams did not comment on whether the people involved were local participants or from afar.

On the event’s Facebook page, the group said a memorial run would be held “for the members of our Poker Run family” at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

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