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Man drowns in Lake Lanier
Authorities: Family was visiting West Bank Park
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Forsyth County News

A 44-year-old man who authorities say arrived in the country a couple days ago drowned Thursday afternoon while on a family outing at Lake Lanier.

Authorities on Friday identified the man as Rodrigo Bernal Trejo.

According to Georgia Department of Natural Resources Capt. Mark Padgett, Prejo went under while swimming in the water at West Bank Park, not far from Buford Dam.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said emergency personnel were sent to the park off Buford Dam Road after 3 p.m. Prejo was recovered about 3:46 p.m. in 11 feet of water about 50 feet off the shore.

“That’s important because it indicated that we did have a recovery within the first half hour of the event,” Shivers said. “We treated the recovery as a rescue … CPR was attempted, we were treating the incident as a potential rescue because his down time was within that first critical hour.”

Prejo was then taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, where he was pronounced dead, said Karleen Chalker with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Prejo’s name was not released until authorities were able to notify additional family members.

“He had just gotten here from Mexico a few days ago,” Chalker said. “I don’t know if he moved here permanently or was just visiting with them.”

Padgett, with the DNR, said there weren’t any flotation devices at the camp site or on the shoreline.

“The family was around,” he said. “It looked to me like they were having some sort of picnic.”

Shivers said having family at the scene helped lead to the quick recovery.

“If we’re not searching blindly, it’s more efficient,” he said. “Having that intelligence from the family contributed to the rapid nature we tried to recover him in.”

Shivers said in addition to the county’s sheriff’s office and DNR, Gwinnett County’s fire department, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia State Patrol’s air unit also were on the scene.