published Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Georgia boater dies after falling into lake

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — A 52-year-old man died Sunday afternoon after falling from his boat and being run over by the unmanned vessel on a lake in northwest Georgia.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials said Robert Lewis, of Dallas Ga., fell from his boat in Allatoona Lake Sunday morning and wasn’t wearing a life jacket. Details on what caused the man to fall from the boat weren’t immediately available.

Witnesses told WSB-TV it appeared as if Lewis was trying to swim back to his boat when it ran him over. Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mike Barr told the television station boaters should look for a safe place and swim away from their vessel if they fall out of it.

The man’s boat began circling after he fell into the water, Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Melissa Cummings said. Officials worked to regain control of the boat while keeping others away from the area. The unoccupied boat circled at full throttle for about 15 minutes before it ran out of gas and came to a stop, Cummings said.

Officials have said Lewis was unconscious when he was pulled from the water.

“It was bad. You could tell. He had some bad lacerations where it looked like he had been hit by the propeller of the boat he was in,” witness Barry Williams told WGCL-TV. Williams said he was fishing nearby and helped pull Lewis from the lake.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources took possession of the man’s boat, and Cummings said the agency’s accident reconstruction team is probing the incident.

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