Man arrested in Lake Lanier fatality

ATLANTA — Crews were using sonar Tuesday to search for a 13-year-old who disappeared in Lake Lanier after a fishing boat rammed a pontoon boat, killing an 8-year-old and injuring three other passengers on the vessel, authorities said.


The fishing boat left the area after the collision, authorities said.

Deep water and timber at the bottom of the lake posed challenges for searchers, Hall County sheriff’s Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.

After authorities spent much of the night searching for the fishing boat that left the scene, a man was taken into custody at a marina on the lake and charged with boating under the influence, said Maj. Stephen Adams of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Officers also located the fishing boat, Adams said. Authorities planned to release more details of the arrest later Tuesday.

There were 13 people from Gwinnett County aboard the pontoon boat when it was struck around 11 p.m. Monday.

The fishing boat struck the pontoon “basically head-on,” Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said.

The 8-year-old’s mother and two other children were also injured, authorities said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Crews on Tuesday were using boats with sonar devices to search for the teen and planned to send divers into the water if the sonar detected something.

“The exact location of the accident has not been determined because it occurred during darkness and of course there was a lot of confusion,” Wilbanks said. The depth of the water in the area is more than 100 feet, he said.

The boats collided between Lake Lanier Islands and Buford Dam. The area is just north of Buford, about 40 miles from Atlanta.



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