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Search suspended for missing boater
Man, 62, didn’t come back from lake
Firefighters use a map to try to determine where a missing man's boat may have drifted from on Lake Lanier. - photo by Jim Dean

Authorities have called off the search for a 62-year-old Forsyth County boater reported missing after he didn’t return from an outing on Lake Lanier.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Kevin Wallace said Stephen Bryk’s pontoon boat was found drifting Wednesday in the water between Shady Grove Campground and Young Deer Park in northeastern Forsyth.

"We don’t know how long his boat drifted or where it drifted from, and the anchor was not thrown," Wallace said. "So we’re having issues with trying to pinpoint where the boat drifted from.

"At this point, we’ve exhausted pretty much everything we can do until we get a call from someone who sees something … of that nature."

Volunteers indicated they would continue looking for Bryk, said Wallace, who added that firefighters may return to the water throughout the weekend.

"If anybody has any contact with him or sees him please call 911 and let us know," he said.

The search began late Wednesday afternoon after Bryk’s wife called the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Her husband was last seen about 9 that morning.

Wallace said the Georgia Department of Natural Resources unsuccessfully searched the surface of the lake for about three hours Wednesday night and the fire department joined in early Thursday morning.

"At this point, we are just treating as a missing person because we don’t have any indication of foul play," he said. "We don’t have any indication of anything other than he went for a boat ride.

"There were some personal belongings located on the boat that gives us the indication that he possibly did get in the water to do some minor repairs on his boat."

Wallace added that Bryk was alone on the boat, which is not uncommon. The man’s wife told authorities he is retired from the military and a good swimmer.

Authorities used boats and personal watercraft to search the water and along the shorelines. They also conducted ground searches of nearby islands.

Wallace said Forsyth County’s GIS department drew up a map of the area and the grids were assigned to different groups.

Georgia State Patrol helicopters were used to search from the air. Also taking part in the search were friends of Bryk and officials with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.