Nearly a week after an Atlanta man went overboard in Lake Lanier, the Department of Natural Resources is continuing their search for him, though they are scaling back their efforts.
Kaiyan Ding, 29, of Atlanta, went overboard about 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, in the area of Holiday Marina.
Sgt. Jason Roberson said Ding had rented a pontoon boat with some friends and jumped in the water to retrieve a hat that had been blown overboard by the wind, which reached speeds of 20-25 mph that day. That made the water very choppy, with waves as tall as 2.5 feet.
“Just not good conditions to be trying to swim,” he said, even though Ding did know how to swim, he added.
The department ended their deep-water search Thursday, but they will continue to scan the shores with boats and a helicopter for the next couple of weeks, Roberson said.
Standing timber in the water made the deep-water search exceedingly difficult, because their equipment was “getting hung up so much,” said Lt. Judd Smith. Often, he said, it took them 10 tries before they were able to weave the equipment through the timber and reach the bottom of the lake.
Roberson said they have been in contact with Ding’s family. His immediate family members live in China, he said, while Ding’s fiancé lives in the Atlanta area.
Ding’s drowning was the first of two drownings and a potential third in the past week alone, and Roberson said it has taken a toll on the department.
A man’s body was recovered Thursday afternoon from Lake Lanier in what police say was an accidental drowning, and authorities are still searching for a man’s body in Lake Knickerbocker, which is a possible suicide.
“It’s very, very taxing emotionally on all of our officers,” Roberson said.