Man becomes 8th person this year to drown in lake that's claimed the lives of almost 700 people in the US

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By Kim Novak

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A 24-year-old man has become the eighth person to drown this year in what is known as one of the deadliest lakes in the US.

Gavrie Alexander Whitlock, 24, was found dead at the Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier by the Hall County Fire Rescue on Saturday night after they were called to reports of a drowning at the lake's oldest and biggest marina. Whitlock is believed to have slipped and fallen into the water and did not resurface.

Whitlock is the eighth person to have lost their life in the lake so far this year, with 23-year-old Edgar Steven Cruz Martinez also drowning on August 26, with his body being recovered from 10 feet of water by game wardens.

Two other men aged 27 and 61 died in unrelated incidents on the lake on July 31, while another was electrocuted after jumping off a dock on July 27, according to reports from Fox5.

It is estimated that over 200 people have lost their lives in Lake Lanier between 1994 and 2022, with multiple reports suggesting there could have been almost 700 deaths since it was created in 1956.

Georgia DNR Game Warden Cody Tanner told the outlet: "A lot of people aren’t used to swimming in choppy water. It’s not like a pool out here. It’s completely different, so you can get swept out pretty easy."

He added that there are a number of dangers associated with the water, explaining: "With it being the end of the summer, it gets brutally hot out here sometimes, with the water being warm as well. People don’t realize they’re dehydrating, and they’ll get out pretty deep and their legs will start locking up, and they’ll go straight down."

Lake Lanier, in North Georgia, has a horrific history and was created on top of a town called Oscarville, which was home to a thriving black community.

It was named after the poet Sidney Lanier when it was built and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and water supplies, but its construction meant over 50,000 acres od farmland was destroyed and over 250 families were displaced, as well as 15 businesses and 20 cemeteries which had to be relocated in the process.

Oscarville was also the site of a lynching in 1912 by bands of white men known as the Night Riders, leading to the thriving black community, which had begun to build lives for themselves following the abolition of slavery, being forced out of the area by intimidation and violence.

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While it is a popular spot for swimmers and water sports, several people have died in Lake Lanier. Credit: Moses Robinson/Getty Images

Many of the properties and land owned by black residents were unlawfully taken over by white people in the area, which was later flooded to dorm Lake Lanier.

In recent times, the area has become popular with swimmers and those enjoying watersports, however, some underwater hazards remain as a result of how the lake was created.

When the area was created, workmen felled the treetops in the area, leaving tall stumps beneath the surface before the lake was filled.

There have been many deaths due to swimmers getting into difficulty in the lake, and divers have reportedly even recalled finding the limbs of deceased bathers while exploring the depths of the waters.

The lake is also rumored to be haunted due to the large number of graves that were relocated in order to facilitate its creation, as well as many unmarked graves which were believed to be in the area.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

Man becomes 8th person this year to drown in lake that's claimed the lives of almost 700 people in the US

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

A 24-year-old man has become the eighth person to drown this year in what is known as one of the deadliest lakes in the US.

Gavrie Alexander Whitlock, 24, was found dead at the Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier by the Hall County Fire Rescue on Saturday night after they were called to reports of a drowning at the lake's oldest and biggest marina. Whitlock is believed to have slipped and fallen into the water and did not resurface.

Whitlock is the eighth person to have lost their life in the lake so far this year, with 23-year-old Edgar Steven Cruz Martinez also drowning on August 26, with his body being recovered from 10 feet of water by game wardens.

Two other men aged 27 and 61 died in unrelated incidents on the lake on July 31, while another was electrocuted after jumping off a dock on July 27, according to reports from Fox5.

It is estimated that over 200 people have lost their lives in Lake Lanier between 1994 and 2022, with multiple reports suggesting there could have been almost 700 deaths since it was created in 1956.

Georgia DNR Game Warden Cody Tanner told the outlet: "A lot of people aren’t used to swimming in choppy water. It’s not like a pool out here. It’s completely different, so you can get swept out pretty easy."

He added that there are a number of dangers associated with the water, explaining: "With it being the end of the summer, it gets brutally hot out here sometimes, with the water being warm as well. People don’t realize they’re dehydrating, and they’ll get out pretty deep and their legs will start locking up, and they’ll go straight down."

Lake Lanier, in North Georgia, has a horrific history and was created on top of a town called Oscarville, which was home to a thriving black community.

It was named after the poet Sidney Lanier when it was built and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and water supplies, but its construction meant over 50,000 acres od farmland was destroyed and over 250 families were displaced, as well as 15 businesses and 20 cemeteries which had to be relocated in the process.

Oscarville was also the site of a lynching in 1912 by bands of white men known as the Night Riders, leading to the thriving black community, which had begun to build lives for themselves following the abolition of slavery, being forced out of the area by intimidation and violence.

wp-image-1263227248 size-full
While it is a popular spot for swimmers and water sports, several people have died in Lake Lanier. Credit: Moses Robinson/Getty Images

Many of the properties and land owned by black residents were unlawfully taken over by white people in the area, which was later flooded to dorm Lake Lanier.

In recent times, the area has become popular with swimmers and those enjoying watersports, however, some underwater hazards remain as a result of how the lake was created.

When the area was created, workmen felled the treetops in the area, leaving tall stumps beneath the surface before the lake was filled.

There have been many deaths due to swimmers getting into difficulty in the lake, and divers have reportedly even recalled finding the limbs of deceased bathers while exploring the depths of the waters.

The lake is also rumored to be haunted due to the large number of graves that were relocated in order to facilitate its creation, as well as many unmarked graves which were believed to be in the area.

Featured image credit: Getty Images