HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned that a Gainesville firefighter/EMT has died following a boating accident over the weekend and now the boat’s operator has been charged with boating under the influence.
The Gainesville Fire Department said Chandler Patterson drowned Saturday night on Lake Tugaloo. Officials said he was enjoying some time off with this family and friends when the tragic accident happened.
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The Department of Natural Resources said Patterson was with another person on a tube being pulled behind the boat when Patterson fell off.
“The operator of the boat turned around to pick him up and possibly ran over him in the water,” Mark McKinnon with DNR said. “The operator was arrested for BUI.”
The department described Patterson as a “super friendly person” who brought smiles to everyone around him.
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Flags will be lowered to half-staff at each of the fire departments in the area.
“We ask that you keep his family, and his fire family, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the fire department said in a Facebook post.
Hundreds of people posted on Facebook, honoring the young man.
“I am so deeply saddened by this tragic news. Sending prayers to his family, friends, and work family as they seek comfort and strength in the days ahead. Love to all,” one person posted.
“Prayers being lifted for Chandler’s Family as well as his Fire Family,” another person posted.
The boat operator has been identified as Kaplan Stacy Mitchell, 20, from Clayton. He remains in the Rabun County Jail.
Patterson had been with the department since 2019. He was 27-years-old.
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