Forsyth County firefighters have recovered the body of a 22-year-old man who apparently drowned early Thursday after jumping off a Lake Lanier bridge.
Authorities identified the man as Ryan Browning of 375 Fredericks Cove in Dawsonville.
Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said Browning’s body was recovered about 8:45 a.m. in about 30 feet of water, some 30 feet from shore.
The area is underneath the Hwy. 369 bridge at Six Mile Creek, from which Browning had reportedly jumped hours earlier.
The investigation into his death, which authorities said is the first drowning on the Forsyth County side of Lake Lanier this year, is ongoing.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said the incident happened after 3 a.m., as Browning and a couple of friends were on the bridge in northeastern Forsyth County.
Citing witness accounts, House said the group had been drinking alcohol when Browning attempted to do a double somersault into the water.
After he did not resurface, Browning’s friends flagged down a passing deputy.
The first distress call came in at 3:24 a.m., Shivers said. Rescue personnel initially interviewed witnesses and conducted a brief surface search.
“It would be unsafe for us to even attempt sonar or dive operations in the dark,” he said.
Divers entered the water about 8 a.m. to search for Browning, finding him a short time later.
Authorities say the death is a sad and stark reminder not to jump from a lake bridge.
“Any of that kind of behavior is of course careless and it in this case unfortunately proved fatal,” Shivers said.
“Our hearts go out to the family that has lost a loved one and is hurting, but at the same time I hope that this tragic loss can help to deter someone else from making the same mistake in the future.”
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