Second man drowns on Lake Lanier in less than 24 hours

Channel 2's Lauren Pozen learned he was not wearing a life jacket.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Searchers have recovered the body of the second man to drown on Lake Lanier in less than 24 hours, authorities said Saturday night.

Witnesses said Reginald Whitehad, 30, was on a jet ski and was trying to pull it onto a boat ramp at Shoal Creek Park when the watercraft flipped over around 8 p.m.

Channel 2's Michael Seiden was at the scene Saturday night when search crews recovered Whitehad's body around 10:45 p.m. Authorities said the victim was from Perry, Ga. Family members were still on the scene.

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Authorities said Whitehad was not wearing a life jacket when the watercraft flipped over.

The family told Channel 2's Lauren Pozen that Whitehad was the oldest of seven children and did not know how to swim. His family saw the 30-year-old go under the water.


On Saturday morning, police recovered the body of a man near his boat dock off Pine Forest Road on Lake Lanier.

A family member discovered the body of 61-year-old Michael Thompson in the water about midnight, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Emergency crews also responded to three near-drowning incidents at metro-Atlanta pools Saturday.

A 13-year-old boy was able to rescue his best friend after he went under at a pool party in Hall County.

A nine-year-old boy was also pulled out of a pool in North Hall County Saturday afternoon and was revived by a bystander who performed CPR, authorities said.

A six-year-old boy is in critical condition after being pulled from a pool in Habersham County Saturday evening. Officials said he may have been under water as long as 10 minutes.

To keep swimmers and boaters safe, Hall County deputies are cautioning lake-goers to wear their life jackets and not swim alone.

“Don’t swim alone and be careful about overestimating your swimming ability, said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks. “Many people have drowned trying to swim to an island or the other side of a cove, only to discover that it was too far for their abilities.”