A 24-year-old man died after jumping into Lake Lanier in Georgia from a dock with an attached boat lift. Stacie Miller, spokesperson for Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, revealed the incident happened last week Thursday (Jul. 27).
Witnesses told officials that Thomas Shepard Milner screamed for help shortly after jumping into the lake, per The Washington Post. Authorities believe he was electrocuted, which then caused electric-shock drowning.
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Attempts To Rescue Electrocuted Man From Lake Lanier Were Initially Unsuccessful
There was reportedly an attempt to pull Milner from the water using a ladder. However, that was unsuccessful. Instead, neighbors took a boat into the water, and one person jumped into the water to pull Milner in.
However, when that volunteer hopped in, he reportedly felt “a burning sensation that he recognized as an electric shock.” In response, he swam to shore instead and turned off a power box that supplies electricity to the boat lift
Afterward, the neighbor pulled Milner onto the dock, per reports. WSB-TV reports that Milner’s uncle attempted “life-saving measures” until medical professionals arrived and transported Thomas Milner to the hospital.
Doctors treated him at Northside Forsyth Hospital, but the 24-year-old died on Friday (Jul. 28). At this time, authorities have not announced any foul play in the incident, but it remains under investigation.
Thomas Milner’s Mother Speaks Out Following His Death
According to Alive 11, Thomas was one of three people who died at Lake Lanier in the last week, including a 61-year-old woman who went swimming in the reservoir,
“Our deck was less than three years old and was outfitted with electricity by a licensed electrician,” Martha Milner, Thomas’ mother, told Alive 11.
Martha added that her son, known by his middle name Shepard, loved the lakeside home that’s been in their family for more than 60 years.
“Shepard loved the lake. Almost every week, he would spend his day off riding with the jet ski, swimming, or just snoozing on the dock to some music.”
Named Lake Sidney Lanier, the 38,000-acre body of water is located about an hour from Atlanta. Though it provides drinking water and hydroelectricity for millions, the lake also doubles as a popular recreational area.
What makes it dangerous, per the Oxford American, are the still-standing “rooftops, home foundations, cemeteries and Gainsville Speedway” below the surface.
When the reservoir was constructed on what was formerly a town called Oscarville, City of Atlanta officials decided demolishing every structure cost too much. Instead, they just flooded the area using pooling water from the Buford Dam.
This has created underwater traps making it dangerous to swim in the waters and even more difficult to recover the bodies of incident victims.
Despite over 200 people dying at the lake since 1994, it receives more than 8 million visitors per year.