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Duluth man dies in Lanier boat wreck
Collision leaves three injured; one in serious condition
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Authorities are investigating a weekend boat accident on Lake Lanier that left one person dead and three others injured.

Gwinnett County firefighters responded after midnight Sunday to a report of an accident in the area of East Bank Park off Suwanee Dam Road. They were called to the scene after Forsyth County 911 received a distress call from a passing motorist on Buford Dam Road.

The man who died was Stephen Blake Jones, 59, of Duluth, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Jones died after the boat he was in and another boat collided near Lower Overlook Park on the Gwinnett County side of the lake.

According to Gwinnett fire officials, a husband and wife in their 30s were crossing the lake in a 21-foot ski boat when they reportedly struck an unknown object.

Realizing that their boat was damaged and taking on water, the couple decided to swim for shore to get help, according to a news release from Gwinnett Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge.

The couple climbed a bank to nearby Buford Dam Road and flagged down a passing motorist. According to responders, the two were wearing life jackets when firefighters arrived.

Steven Parker, 32, and Ashley LeBlanc, 30, both of Cumming, were treated at a hospital in Forsyth County and released.
The search immediately began for a second vessel and anyone who may be in distress in the water.

Rescue boats from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Forsyth Fire Department were deployed.

About 30 minutes into the search, which also involved the Gwinnett Police Aviation Unit, the body of a man was found.

The body was turned over to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

Authorities were able to find a second boat at about 5 a.m. in the Shoal Creek area near East Bank Park.

A woman was found aboard and taken to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell and was in serious condition.  She remains hospitalized.

The DNR Wildlife Resources Division’s Law Enforcement Section is investigating the incident, the first boating-related fatality this year at Lanier. The agency’s Critical Incident Reconstruction Team is analyzing the boats and other evidence.