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Body of second Tuesday drowning victim found
Sheriffs office says have fun but be safe
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Officials recovered the body of Fabien Yates, 48, on Friday, three days after he went missing in Lake Lanier.

Hall County Sheriff's Office's Dive Team found the body at about 1 p.m. in approximately 60 feet of water and about 140 yards from the shoreline, according to Col. Jeff Strickland.

Yates, of Powder Springs, jumped off a boat near Mountain View Park on Tuesday and didn't resurface, according to his wife, Strickland said. Sheriff's officers have incorrectly identified Yates since the incident happened.

"What made this recovery more difficult is that he went under while swimming from a boat," Strickland said. "Once the boat came to shore, it was difficult for people on the boat to pinpoint exactly where they were in the large body of water."

Yates was found in the general vicinity of where he went missing, Strickland added.

The dive team search began Tuesday, using divers, cadaver dogs and side-scan sonar, which provides law enforcement a picture of the lake's bottom area. The team found the body using the sonar and divers recovered it.

The incident remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff's Office, Criminal Investigations Division, but foul play is not suspected.

Yates' drowning was reported within two minutes of another drowning on the lake at Van Pugh Park North. Tomas Larumbe, 19, of Scottdale, drowned while swimming near an island at Van Pugh. His body was recovered within two hours of the initial report.

And on Wednesday, a 10-year-old was killed when he was hit by a personal watercraft in the Chestatee River arm of Lake Lanier.

Last weekend, on July 2, a Gainesville man drowned at Van Pugh Park North. His family said he suffered from epilepsy and may have had a seizure that caused the drowning.

The weekend before, on June 25, a man visiting the lake for a baptism later drowned near Buford Dam.

Strickland said he did not remember in his career ever having so many deaths in such a short period of time on Lake Lanier.

In 2010, the Department of Natural Resources recorded five drownings in the Gainesville area, in 2009 there were four, 2008, 10, and 2007, 13.

Strickland urged lakegoers to have fun but be safe.

"Anyone swimming needs some type of flotation device," he said. "If you're going to jump off of a boat, please have your life jacket on and same thing if you're swimming in designated swimming areas."

 

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