Drowned man was drinking, authorities say
Victim couldn't swim; tests pending

BUFORD - Alcohol and the inability to swim may have caused a 26-year-old man at Lake Lanier to drown Wednesday, authorities said Thursday.

"The information is (Ezequel Gonzalez of Roswell) had been drinking and could not swim and he went underneath the water," said Gwinnett County chief forensics investigator Ted Bailey.

Tests regarding the presence of alcohol in Gonzalez's body would be complete within 30 to 60 days, Bailey said.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ben Johnson said Gonzalez was in a cove area of the lake at Buford Dam Park when witnesses saw the man go beneath the surface.

"Witnesses said he was swimming just outside the designated swimming area when he apparently went beneath the surface," Johnson said. "He was pronounced dead at Northside Hospital in Forsyth at about 4:30 p.m."

Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said Wednesday that friends were with the man, attempting to get him to the beach as the Gwinnett swiftwater rescue team arrived.

"Firefighters removed the victim from the water at the beach area and initiated advanced life support efforts," Rutledge said.

Johnson said the depth of the water in the cove area where Gonzalez was found varied from a few inches to up to 8 feet.