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Man with epilepsy drowns in Lake Lanier
Victim suspected of having seizure
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The holiday weekend counted its first drowning at Lake Lanier Sunday after getting off to a slow start.

A 23-year-old Gainesville man drowned in Lanier about 4:30 p.m., according to the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Jember Monjaras Henriquez was swimming with his family when he went under the lake's surface at Van Pugh North Park in South Hall and did not resurface, said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks of the sheriff's office.

Family members pulled the victim from the water about five minutes later and bystanders began efforts to revive him, Wilbanks said.

Fire Chief David Kimbrell said emergency workers performed CPR and transported him to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, Wilbanks said.

According to family members, the victim suffered from epilepsy and they believe he may have suffered a seizure.

The sheriff's office is investigating the death.

There were three drownings Sunday, two at Allatoona and the one at Lanier. As of 9:45 p.m. Sunday, the bodies of two of the victims had been recovered. On Saturday, a 45-year-old man drowned while swimming in the Altamaha River in Appling County.

It had previously been an uncharacteristically quiet holiday weekend on Lake Lanier.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials said this was a statewide trend, but things began picking up Sunday morning.

Statewide for the holiday weekend into late Sunday, the DNR reported 26 boating under the influence arrests, 13 boating incidents and eight boating-related injuries.

DNR Sgt. Lee Brown said education may have contributed to these lower numbers.

"I think our enforcement and education efforts through the media putting out that we're going to be on high patrol on the lakes ... all combined to help with folks having more designated drivers, which we like to see."

Brown also said he expects to see things get busier now that more boaters are hitting the water to watch firework displays.

He reminds boaters that more traffic means rougher waters and more congestion. Now, more than ever, it's important operators pay attention and stay sober.

"You can drink alcohol on a boat, but we ask that the operator not be under the influence," he said.
"We prefer the operator be a designated driver who is not drinking alcohol at all."

Brown also advised swimmers to make sure they are wearing life jackets and swimming with another person.

 

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