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(Suwanee, Ga., August 16, 2017) – Gwinnett County firefighters responded on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 5:27 p.m., to a report of a 21-year-old man unaccounted for in the Chattahoochee River at Settles Bridge Park.  The man was at the river with two other friends and was jumping into the water from the old bridge structure.

According to his friends, he appeared to be in distress upon resurfacing.  One of the friends jumped in the water to provide assistance as the other friend grabbed a cellphone to call 9-1-1.  The friend in the water made contact with the victim about 100 yards downstream from the bridge.  The victim was combative and the friend was unable to rescue him without placing himself in extreme danger. 

Several agencies converged on the river to search for the victim.  He was located at 6:18 p.m., by members of the Gwinnett Fire Swift Water Rescue Team about a mile south of Settles Bridge.  He was found two feet beneath the surface of the water and was caught by a strainer (tree debris underwater) in a 10-foot deep area.  He was removed by the Gwinnett Fire Rescue Boat and carried to a waiting ambulance.  Once in the boat, rescuers performed CPR and paramedics continued advanced life support measures.  He was transported (emergency status) to Emory Johns Creek Hospital.  The man was pronounced deceased shortly after arrival at the hospital.                 

U.S. Park Service-Law Enforcement Rangers and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were notified about the incident.  According to law enforcement officials, it is illegal to climb on the old bridge, which is identified as a historic structure.  No one in the group was wearing a life jacket at the time.

The Fire-PIO is unable to provide the name of the victim due to federal patient privacy laws known as HIPAA.  For additional information, please contact the U.S. Park Service-Law Enforcement or the Gwinnett County Police Department.      


Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services

Gwinnett County Police

City of Johns Creek Fire

Forsyth County Fire

DeKalb County Police Aviation (helicopter was cancelled prior to arrival)     

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