New details from weekend fishing fatality at the dam

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Image courtesy of Google Earth


•••UPDATED 2:10 p.m. Monday

The body of the 15-year-old boy involved in a Sunday afternoon fishing accident on the Oconee River has been recovered by first responders. The body actually was found roughly 25 yards “upstream” from the accident, a result of the complicated system of powerful currents and undercurrents at the man-made tail race below the dam.


•••ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The search continues on the Oconee River for a 15-year-old boy, presumed drowned, while the boy's parents are thousands of miles away in Guatemala.

The 15-year-old and a group of friends were fishing at the tail race on Sunday when the boy "attempted to throw a casting net" into the water and slipped off of the river bank, according to Department of Natural Resources Corp. Bubba Stanford. The boy then was taken by the current, resurfaced temporarily, before going back underwater and not resurfacing again. 

The DNR today is in the process of deploying its "ROV robot," which is equipped with an underwater camera. A dive team, several boats and sonar also have been utilized so far in an attempt to recover the body.

"A sister in Atlanta" is the only immediate family that the 15-year-old has in the United States, according to Stanford, and a Milledgeville Police Department officer fluent in Spanish has been brought in to assist with the language barrier. 

Georgia Power had several floodgates open on Sunday, thus speeding up the current and making it especially dangerous. The boy was not wearing a life jacket. Following the incident yesterday, DNR made contact with Georgia Power and asked engineers to divert the flow of water away from the tailrace, which took about 45 minutes to complete. 


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