LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. - Authorities said a father and his 6-year-old son drowned at a popular North Georgia swimming spot.
The Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office said police and firefighters were called to Dick's Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
The victims were identified as Joshua Kistler, 38, and his son, Jaxon Kistler, both of Dahlonega.
The Sheriff's Office said the son was having trouble swimming when his father jumped in and tried to save him, and they both drowned.
“I’m afraid that the current from the waterfall pulled him under where he could not come back from it. Then the father was frantically trying to search for his child,” Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said.
Jarrard said several people witnessed the accident, but no one was close enough to be able to help.
The Sheriff’s Office said it’s been several years since the last drowning in the area.
Family friend Cliff Hooker said the loss will be hard to get over.
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“It’s going to affect pretty much the whole community. I mean, everybody in that family is heartbroken,” he said.
Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen spoke with the pastor of the family’s church. He said Jaxon touched a lot of lives during his short life.
“When he got to church, he wouldn’t shake my hand. But when I’d tell the congregation to rise and make everybody welcome, he would come to me and a lot of times, he’d hand me a piece of candy,” Lyman Caldwell said.
He said he’ll never forget the father and his precious child.
“I just know one day when I leave this life, I look for that boy to give me a piece of candy,” he said.
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