BUFORD (AP) — State authorities were investigating Sunday how two boats collided in the darkness on Lake Lanier, leaving one man dead and a woman seriously injured.
Gwinnett County firefighters responded to a report of a boating accident at the lake, located about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. Authorities say a couple was crossing the lake in a 21-foot ski boat on Saturday night when they reportedly struck an unknown object in the water near Lower Overlook Park. The two swam from their damaged boat to shore and flagged down a motorist, who called 911 shortly before midnight, according to state Department of Natural Resources spokesman Maj. Stephen Adams.
The body of an adult male was found in the water within the first 35 minutes of the search.
He was identified Sunday evening by the DNR as Stephen Blake Jones, 59, of Duluth.
The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner was determining the cause of death.
"It's a tragedy for sure," Adams said, adding that the incident is still under investigation.
Authorities were able to locate the second vessel, a 30-foot pontoon boat with an enclosed cabin, around 5 a.m. An adult woman was found aboard the damaged vessel and transported to a nearby hospital in serious condition. She remained hospitalized late Sunday, and her identity had not been released.
The two boaters who swam to safety, 32-year-old Steven Parker and 30-year-old Ashley LeBlanc, both of Cumming, were wearing life jackets. They were later treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.
The state Department of Natural Resources is interviewing witnesses and working to gather physical evidence. The department also has members of its critical incident reconstruction team trying to piece together what happened.