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Drowning first of year
Another swimmer rescued nearby
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Authorities return to shore Saturday afternoon after recovering the body of a 69-year-old man in Lake Lanier near Sawnee Campground. - photo by Julie Arrington

Public safety officials are reminding lake-goers to use caution after one man drowned and another nearly lost his life in separate incidents over the weekend on Lake Lanier.

The drowning, the first of the year on the Forsyth County side of the lake, happened Saturday afternoon near Sawnee Campground.

A short time later, a swimmer was rescued from the water at nearby West Bank Park. Neither man was wearing a life vest.

“As always, please swim with a buddy and always wear your life preserver,” said Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers.

Authorities have identified the drowning victim as 70-year-old Osvaldo Braziunas of Lilburn.

Shivers said Braziunas went under the water about 2:30 p.m. while swimming to an island near the campground.

Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald said Braziunas' son-in-law was swimming behind him when he disappeared, about 30 yards from the island.

McDonald said family members left the shore to look for Braziunas but couldn't find him.

His body was recovered about 3:30 p.m. some 80 yards offshore in 16 feet of water.

Shivers said officials do not suspect foul play.

McDonald said the family reported that Braziunas had no health issues. His body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab for an autopsy, which determined the cause of death was drowning.

Shivers said Gwinnett and Hall county fire departments assisted in the recovery, as did the sheriff's marine patrol unit.

About a half hour later, emergency medical personnel were summoned to West Bank Park, not far from the campground, for a possible drowning.

Shivers said a 19-year-old man was unconscious when his friends pulled him from the water.

“He started cramping up and did go under, but he was close enough to shore that some friends were able to get in and bring him to shore,” Shivers said.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth. He is expected to make a full recovery, Shivers said.

Authorities said alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in either incident.