by: Liz Artz Updated:
BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - A fun family outing turned tragic this holiday weekend after investigators found the body of a 23-year-old man in Lake Allatoona.
Nicholas Alexander was spending the day on the lake with his parents when he dove off a rental boat near the swim beach at Red Top Mountain State Park and didn't make it to shore.
A witness told Channel 2's Liz Artz she knew something was bad when they saw a stretcher leaned against a tree.
Sharon Sheppard was also on the lake with her family. She was there as rescue crews searched for Alexander's body. She said she saw rescue divers looking for the body and the Department of Natural Resources boats, with rescue crews poking the water with sticks.
She described the scene as sad and a little ominous. She said it was very, very quiet, no one said a word even though the lake was filled with people. They were trying to be respectful to the family.
Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Mike Barr said Alexander was found an hour and a half later just before 6:30 p.m. Sunday in 30 feet of water.
Barr was told Alexander was a strong swimmer and had not been drinking. It's unclear exactly what went wrong. Officers do not believe Alexander got caught up on debris under the water. He did say often times people under estimate their swimming abilities. Sometimes the water temperature can take their breath away or they under estimate distance. Officers said the shore can appear closer than what it really is.
Barr said witnesses on the beach heard Alexander called for help, but by the time help arrived it was too late. A life jacket he says is always the best precaution.
He said people on the water should wear a life jacket like you wear a seat belt.
The incident remains under investigation. It is the 23rd death on Georgia lakes this year.