Fisherman drowns in Chattahoochee River

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A man who went fishing on the Chattahoochee River Friday afternoon never made it out.

The swift water rescue team responded to the Chattahoochee River in an effort to save the man who'd gone fishing near the Medlock Bridge Recreation Area.

Eyewitnesses told rescuers the man had walked into the river to loosen his snagged fishing line from a rock.

"It was when he was coming back from the rock onto the that he was swept away by that current. Witnesses said he went under water and never resurfaced," said Captain Tommy Rutledge, with the Gwinnett County Fire Department.


Authorities are awaiting the arrival of the Gwinnett Medical Examiner, who will make a positive identification of the body and will determine the exact cause of death.

He said the John's Creek Rescue boat located the man with directions from the police helicopter.

We're told they used pike poles and a swimmer to locate the man in about ten feet of water.
Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

"They initiated CPR in the rescue boat. They got him to the shore. The medics there continued those life-saving efforts there were no signs of life from him at that point," said Captain Rutledge.

He said it appears the man was caught in the quickly rising Chattahoochee River after a water release from Buford dam up stream.

"You only have seconds to react when that generation is sending water and the water level, the swift current, begins to take place where you are," said Captain Rutledge.

Distraught Family members, who understandably didn't want to go on camera, told Fox 5 News the 56-year-old man had gone fishing with two brothers.

Captain Rutledge said this is a reminder to always check the water release.

The recorded message from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Buford Dam, indicated the water release was a few hours before the additional water reached the Medlock Bridge area.

"Knowing your surroundings wearing a life jacket checking the generation time are all critical to staying safe on the Chattahoochee River,"'said Captain Rutledge.

The Gwinnett County Medical Examiners Office had not released the name of the man who apparently drowned in the Chattahoochee River.