Georgia Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Mike Barr said in a release that rangers responded to Lake Allatoona about 10:30 a.m. after witnesses reported a person was struck by a boat.
Robert Timothy Lewis, 52, of Dallas, was traveling out of a no-wake zone and began to throttle up, Bartow County Fire Department Battalion Chief Sandy Turner said Sunday. When the 16-foot bass boat struck a wave, the man was thrown out and the boat struck him multiple times.
DNR Rangers responded along with BCFD, Bartow EMS and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers rangers, Barr said. Lewis was pulled from the water by rescue personnel and citizens. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Barr said the bass boat was found at full throttle and was circling. DNR rangers and emergency personnel cleared the area to avoid the unmanned boat striking another vessel or person. The unmanned boat ran for more than 15 minutes until it ran out of gas.
Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene.
The DNR Critical Incident Reconstruction Team investigated the incident.
“Life jacket use is mandatory for children under the age of 13 while a vessel is in motion and a good idea for use by adults,” Barr said in the release. “An ignition lanyard stop switch, which is attached to the operator and automatically stops the engine, is a good safety device for boat operators to utilize.”
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division released holiday boating statistics and information for July 4-7 in a preliminary report. Numbers may be revised.
Statewide, DNR reported one drowning at Lake Lanier. The victim, who could not swim, fell off a dock. Her husband could not swim but tried to rescue her. They were both pulled out of the water, and EMS tried to revive her but she did not survive. Thirteen boating under the influence arrests were made; 10 boating incidents; eight boating incident-related injuries; and one boating incident fatality. Last year, the state reported seven BUIs, three boating incidents with three injuries, no fatalities and no drownings for the Fourth of July holiday period.
For the same period this year, Allatoona had no drownings, no BUIs, one incident, no injuries and one fatality.