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Lilburn man, 19, drowns

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 19-year-old Lilburn man drowned in Lake Lanier Saturday, authorities said.

Ben Johnson, a spokesman for Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, said the man appeared to have been swimming in a portion of Lake Lanier Islands known as Cocktail Cove when he drowned about 7 p.m.

The man's parents are out of town, Johnson said, so his name is not being released while they are located.

Johnson said he did not know if the man was swimming off of a boat or from the shore, but that he had not been wearing a life jacket. It took 45 minutes to recover his body from the south portion of the lake near the Pine Isle golf course, he said.

The man was taken to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville where he was pronounced dead.

This was the fifth drowning at Lake Lanier this year, Johnson said. Last year, the Department of Natural Resources responded to three drownings.

Johnson said he had heard no indication that alcohol was involved in the incident, but he urged people not to swim after they had been drinking. Boaters who are coming to the lake for Labor Day should look out for logs and rocks that might surface in the water as the lake level decreases, he said. As of Friday, the lake was more than eight feet below its normal summer level.

"We would encourage boaters to use extreme caution," he said. "The main message we would communicate is that it is always a good idea to use a life jacket if you do decide to get into the water."

The Hall County Sheriff's Department is investigating the drowning. According to a news release issued by the department, witnesses said the man was swimming when he went under water and did not resurface.

The drowning appears to be accidental and no foul play is suspected, the release said.