The Deadliest Lake in Georgia

Located some 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, Lake Sidney Lanier (informally, “Lake Lanier”) is both the primary water reservoir for the Atlanta Metropolitan area and the preferred recreational destination for much of northern Georgia and neighboring states. Among law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, it is also known as the "Deadliest lake in Georgia."

In today’s post, the drowning and aquatic accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm will review the history of drowning accidents at Lake Lanier before explaining the legal options that may be available to the families of drowning accident victims.</p>

More people drown at Lake Lanier than at Georgia’s Atlantic beaches

The most recent study of drowning deaths at Lake Lanier, and in the State of Georgia, comes from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s "Drownings Continue to Rise in Georgia, Despite Water Safety Efforts” (September 3, 2017), where it was noted that:

  • there were always “double digits” of drowning deaths at Lake Lanier regardless of the year or external factors such as droughts
  • during the study’s time frame (2010 – 2016), a significant majority of statewide drowning accident victims were males
  • males under the age of 35 and African-American males accounted for a disproportional number of drowning accident victims in relation to the population at large
  • more than half of all drowning deaths occurred in “natural water’ rather than in swimming pools

Through June 1st, there have been 7 confirmed drownings at Lake Lanier during 2019:

  • On June 1st, 21-year-old Karon Antiwoin Jackson of Lawrenceville (GA) drowned while swimming at Lanier Park.

  • On May 25th, Reginald Whitehead, 30, of Perry (GA) drowned when his jet-ski flipped. Whitehead was reported to have been a non-swimmer and was not wearing a flotation device when the accident occurred.

  • On May 24th, 61-year-old Michael Thompson of Gainesville (GA) drowned near a private boat dock behind a home on Pine Forest Road.

  • On May 8th, 38-year-old Nicholas Schimweg and 59-year-old Brianislav Prazich drowned after their fishing boat collided with a larger watercraft.

  • On April 28th,  17-year-old Dontay Lane of Lithonia (GA) was the victim of a near-drowning accident at Buford Dam Park. He was transported to Northside Hospital in Forsythe County (GA) where he died on May 11th.

  • On January 18th, the body of Shannon Sancho, 30, of Atlanta, was found near Lake Lanier Islands. An autopsy revealed no suggestion of foul  play.

Liability and Lake Lanier drowning accidents

Many drowning accidents are ultimately found to have been the results of the victim’s own carelessness. There are cases, however, where what seems to be an error in the victim’s judgement is actually a defect in some device such as a boat’s motor or in a jet-ski’s throttle. In such instances, and if the defect can be shown to have played in the accident, there may be grounds for a lawsuit.

If you have lost a family member to a drowning accident, we invite you to contact the drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of the facts in your drowning accident case and a discussion of the legal options that may be available to you.

When you contact our firm, your case review and first consultation with our drowning accident are always free and do not obligate you in any way to hiring us to represent you in court. If you decide to have us act as you legal counsel, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.