After a second full day of searching proved fruitless, officials will resume recovery operations at 7 a.m. Wednesday in an attempt to locate the body of an Ellenwood man presumed drowned in Lake Lanier after falling from a personal watercraft Sunday.
Broderick Bradford, 46, would be the first drowning of the year on Lake Lanier after nine drownings and two fatal boating accidents in 2007.
Hall County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Strickland said cadaver dogs from the DeKalb County Fire Department were taken out on the lake in a bass boat to help pinpoint the location of the drowning victim. Authorities narrowed the search area from five acres to about 75 square feet some 100 yards off the shore near Aqualand Marina’s gas tanks.
The search was suspended about 4 p.m. Wednesday to allow the sheriff’s dive team to rest and resupply, Strickland said.
Hall County fire department divers were assisting in the search.
Authorities said Bradford and a passenger were riding on a personal watercraft about 7 p.m. Sunday near Aqualand Marina when the watercraft overturned. Bradford was not wearing a life jacket and was attempting to reboard the watercraft when he went under, Strickland said. The passenger had a life vest on and was not injured.
Strickland said divers were hopeful of finding the body soon. The search area is proving difficult because of an abundance of trees and other natural debris within the 70-feet deep waters that prevent the use of a “rope grid” technique. A side-scan sonar system has so far proven ineffective in locating the body, which could be hidden by underwater debris, Strickland said.
“We’re going to continue the search tomorrow and will evaluate daily how long to keep going,” he said.