SC man drowns after strong winds rip boat away from men in lake, Georgia officials say

Mitchell Willetts
·2 min read

Search teams are combing Georgia’s Lake Lanier for the body of a South Carolina man who drowned Sunday afternoon.

Dorian Pinson, 26, of Greenville was last seen alive, struggling to stay afloat, around 6 p.m., according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which is in charge of the search.

Pinson and three others took a rented pontoon boat onto Lake Lanier and headed out to the channel, where the water is deep and the shore is a far swim, Mark McKinnon, a DNR spokesman told McClatchy News.

Three of the four wound up in the water, either on purpose or by accident, McKinnon said, while one remained on board.

They became separated from the boat and as the three tried to catch up with it, strong winds kept pushing it away. Growing tired, they couldn’t close the distance.

Luckily, another boat swooped in and managed to pluck two of them from the water, McKinnon said. But exhaustion reached Pinson before help could, and he disappeared beneath the waves.

Authorities have been searching for him since with all the tools and techniques available.

It’s hard to say how long it might take to find Pinson’s body, McKinnon said, search teams have serious challenges to contend with.

“It is a very large lake, and I believe the busiest lake east of the Mississippi. There’s about 8 million visitors a year to Lake Lanier ... so there’s a lot of traffic,” he said.

There’s plenty of physical obstructions, as well.

“The water, in places, is up to 170 feet deep. It is a man made reservoir, so there are trees … and lots of other things on the bottom that make it difficult to see with sonar.”

Still, the search will continue until “the point we can’t search anymore,” McKinnon said.

In addition to the search, an investigation into the incident is also underway.