BUFORD - A fisherman authorities said ignored several warning signs - and alarms - was pulled to safety Monday afternoon from the Chatahoochee River near the Buford dam.
According to reports, Konstantine Feder was fishing sometime around 4 p.m. when rising water and current, caused by water released from the dam, swept him off the rock he was standing on and into the frigid waters.
"The victim was not wearing any type of personal flotation device and was in extreme danger," Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said. "The man did not appear to be injured, but was evaluated and released at the scene by paramedics as a precaution."
Feder, who was in the water for about 30 minutes, was nearly exhausted and suffered from mild hypothermia, said Derrick James, a member of the department's swift water rescue team, but it could have been much worse.
When Feder became too tired to remain standing, James said, he unbuckled his waders and tried to swim to safety. That's when James was able to toss him a rope and pull him ashore.
As a backup plan, the department's swift water team, which operates out of Station No. 14 in Buford, was also standing by with a rescue boat.
"I'd say this water is about 50 degrees or so," James said. "Another few minutes, he would probably have lost his ability to even grasp the rope. And if he'd have kept those waders on, he probably would have drowned."
According to reports, it was Feder's first time fishing on the river and he didn't know what the audible alarms meant. According to James, the alarms sound at regular intervals 15 minutes before water is released from the dam.
Several prominent signs also dot the area, warning fishermen to leave the water when alarms go off.
"This is something that we continually train for, and that training paid off today," Rutledge said.