FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - A man who almost drowned at Lake Lanier this weekend, was saved by an inflatable. A scary situation that could have been avoided.
Water levels are low, with no rain expected until later this week, and that has prompted DNR to remind people they need to be aware of water conditions and depth.
If you’re new to the lake, those low water levels could be deceiving, even dangerous.
“He was gasping for air with his head up,” Tom Hoover describes what he saw Sunday at the lake.
He and his daughter Claire were walking along the shore at Lake Lanier when they saw someone in trouble.
“I noticed that one of the swimmers was swimming pretty awkwardly,” said Hoover. “And then I realized he wasn’t swimming, he was trying to breathe.”
They were not in a designated swim area. If they had been, they would have seen warning signs about drop offs in the water. Instead they were in a little cove, not realizing the danger below the water.
“One in the group started to yell for help,” said Hoover. “Grab a tube, grab a tube, throw it to him!”
Severe drop offs are not new, but when the water level is this low, it can seem shallow.
Yemanuil Glushchak brought his jet ski to the water, and has lived near the lake for year.
“Water used to be real high,” said Glushchak. “See even the docks, used to be high you could come with anything you want. Now, it’s not accessible.”
“When it’s low like this, you walk along the banks,” said Lou Deluca, another Lake Lanier veteran. “It used to be shallow, then it drops off real quick, and you could be in the lake, so it’s dangerous.”
In a statement from the Department of Natural Resources, a warning about the low levels. The DNR stresses: “be sure you are very aware of lake conditions and depth.” Conditions many visitors to the lake may take for granted.
“If we hadn’t have been there,” said Hoover. “I’m not sure he would have made it, he was really struggling.”
DNR reminds those who visit the lake to always boat and swim sober, and to always wear a life jacket.
For those of you stuck indoors working today... you're welcome. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/NZYdHjnjha— Lori A Wilson (@LoriWilsonWSB) May 15, 2017