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Search is reminder on river
FCFD urges caution after kayak found
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Forsyth County News

A report of a vacant, overturned kayak on the Chattahoochee River launched a search Friday morning that authorities said didn’t turn up anything unusual.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said the department, along with those in neighboring Gwinnett County and Johns Creek, canvassed the area from Buford Dam to McGinnis Ferry Road from about 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. following the unattended boat report.

The caller was concerned that “something could have happened to someone,” Shivers said.

“We did find the kayak that was left unattended and we also found a life vest that was unattended,” he said. “But there was never anything we could find to indicate a person in distress.”

He added that no one had been recently reported missing and no related emergency calls were placed.

Shivers said the department responds to a few river distress calls each year, especially during the summer.

It’s not uncommon for kayakers or canoe paddlers to lose their boats and “become stranded or washed down river.”

“I suspect it happens many times more than we even ever get notified about, but that’s what we’re there for is to render that assistance when needed,” he said.

The Chattahoochee can be “treacherous,” he noted, adding that people should exercise caution and follow safety standards.

“When the horns sound, they should always get out of the river. Those horns are there to warn you of the impending danger of water releases.”

The releases from Buford Dam can cause rushing water and a rise in the river’s level.

In June 2011, a 9-year-old girl died when she drowned in the river after a dam release.

She had been tubing just south of the Buford Highway bridge, which is about 2.7 miles from the dam.