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24-year-old man dies after slipping on dock at Lake Lanier

A tragic incident occurred on Saturday night at Lake Lanier, resulting in the loss of a 24-year-old man’s life.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, wardens were alerted to a drowning incident at Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier around 10:30 p.m. The initial reports indicated that the victim had been running down a dock when he slipped and fell into the water, failing to resurface. As of now, the victim’s identity remains undisclosed.

Regrettably, this marks the eighth drowning incident at Lake Lanier this year. In late August, 23-year-old Edgar Steven Cruz Martinez became the seventh individual to lose their life in a similar tragedy. Prior to that, two men lost their lives while swimming in the lake on July 31.

Holiday Marina holds the distinction of being the oldest and one of the largest floating marinas on Lake Lanier.

Lake Lanier has a history marred by numerous fatalities. Between 1994 and 2022, more than 200 people have tragically lost their lives in accidents related to the lake, as reported by USA Today and Georgia DNR. The frequency of drownings varied over the years, with 8 recorded in both 2018 and 2019, 7 in 2020, 4 in 2021, and 6 in 2022. These statistics also include 48 additional deaths classified as boating fatalities for the same period.

This year, there have been 7 drownings and no boating fatalities at Lake Lanier up to this point.

Lake Lanier, a popular destination attracting several million visitors annually, was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1956. It stands as Georgia’s largest lake and is named after Sidney Lanier, a renowned Georgia poet and musician, with its full name being Sidney Lanier Lake.

The creation of Lake Lanier resulted in significant relocations, with more than 1,000 people, 20 cemeteries, 15 businesses, and 6 churches being moved to make way for the lake, including the predominantly Black town of Oscarville.

A deeply ingrained belief exists among some that more than 700 individuals have perished at Lake Lanier since its construction in the 1950s. Consequently, many consider the lake to be cursed and haunted.

In July, the ex-wife of R&B singer Usher, Tameka Foster, garnered headlines by launching an online petition aimed at “draining, cleaning, and restoring” Lake Lanier. Foster’s 11-year-old son, Kile Glover, tragically lost his life in a boating accident on the lake in July 2012.

The reasons for the high number of fatalities at Lake Lanier in recent years are multifaceted. The lake’s popularity, attracting between 7 and 11 million visitors annually, naturally increases the likelihood of accidents. Additionally, the lake’s waters can be dark and murky, complicating rescue efforts in emergencies.

Another significant concern is boating under the influence, with more than 525 cases of boating under the influence reported by Georgia DNR between 2008 and 2018. Officials have also highlighted the issue of people, particularly children, not wearing life jackets when at the lake.

Lastly, some individuals believe in the presence of ghosts in the lake, which they speculate may be responsible for pulling swimmers and boaters under the water as an act of vengeance for the past. Among these alleged spirits is the Lady of the Lake.

According to the story, in 1958, two women, Susie Roberts and another lady, were driving on Dawsonville Highway when Susie Roberts lost control of the vehicle and drove into the lake near Lanier Bridge. The lake’s depth at that location was approximately 90 feet, and both women disappeared. A year later, a fisherman discovered a body floating near one of the bridges, earning her the moniker “Lady of the Lake.” In 1990, during a bridge expansion project, construction workers found the car with the remains of another woman inside, presumably Susie Roberts.

Other purported lake spirits may be associated with the 20 cemeteries relocated before the lake’s construction. It’s speculated that the disturbed occupants of these cemeteries might be angered by the disruption and have chosen to haunt the lake. Additionally, some believe that not all the graves and their occupants were successfully relocated during the construction process.

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