Hall County

4 bodies recovered after boat overturns in Lake Lanier

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Officials have identified four bodies that were recovered after a boat overturned Friday on Lake Lanier, officials said.

The bodies of Melissa Renee McMahan, 45, of Mount Washington, Ky., and Tammy Reece, 44, of Columbia, Ky., were located after an overnight search, officials with the Department of Natural Resources said Saturday.

The bodies of Arthur Gene McMahan Jr., 46, of Mount Washington, Ky. and Anthony Reece Jr., 44, of Columbia, Ky., were located on Sunday morning.

Search teams found the women’s bodies using special tracking equipment that works with limited traffic on the water.

The 38-to-40-foot cigarette-type boat was traveling southbound near Cocktail Cove when it overturned just before 4 p.m., officials said. A collision with another boat is not suspected.

Officials with the DNR, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, and the Hall County Fire Department conducted the search.

The annual Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run event at Lake Lanier posted Friday on Facebook about the accident.

“The Lanier Partners would like to send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of those involved in an accident on Lake Lanier today. The accident involved part of our poker run family and we are with heavy hearts tonight,” the post read in part.


The dive team told Channel 2 Action News the boat overturned Friday afternoon.

"We believe that everyone in that boat is still missing, so we haven't been able to verify the number," Maj. Stephen Adams said.

Adams said witnesses have offered conflicting reports about the number of people on the boat when it overturned.

"We think we know who was involved and we're working to notify people who would be next of kin," Adams said.

Video from NewsChopper 2 showed the boat partially submerged near an island in the southeast corner of the lake.

Witness Dillon Hahn said he was sitting on his boat on Lake Lanier when he said all of a sudden he heard a loud noise.

"I saw the boat swirl and it just started jumping out of the water. It caught the rear end of the boat and came around," Hahn said.

Hahn said he saw four boaters fall into the water.

Hahn said he will never forget the sound of the crashing water and screams before everything went silent.

Officials said none of the people inside the boat were wearing life jackets

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