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UPDATE: Search for Missing Man on Lake Lanier in Recovery Mode

DNR officials are searching Lake Lanier for a 47-year-old man "presumed deceased."

UPDATE: 2-19-13, 1 p.m.

It's been one week since George M. Counts of Tucker went missing on Lake Lanier. DNR officials say they are in recovery mode as they look for the body of Counts.

"All things indicate that we are in recovery mode at this point, and that he is presumed deceased," said Melissa Cummings, DNR spokesperson. "The rangers that are still involved in the search want nothing more than to be able to locate
him to assist the family."

Morning and evening surface searches will continue this week and perhaps longer, according to Cummings.

"If they [rangers] see anything that would lead them to believe that side scan sonar and/or divers are needed, they will alert other agencies for assistance," she said.

On Monday, Feb. 11, at about 9:48 p.m., DNR was called to investigate an unmanned 15-foot jon boat that was circling an area of the lake near Bald Ridge Creek at big rock. When authorities arrived they found the boat on a bank and out of gas.

Lt. Rick Doyle of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office told Cumming Patch that DNR towed the boat to the boat ramp at Little Ridge Park off Lanier Beach South Road and began a missing person investigation.

UPDATE: 2-15-13, 10:40 p.m.

Officials have released the name of the 47-year-old man who has been missing on Lake Lanier since Monday night.

The Department of Natural Resources confirms that crews are searching for George M. Counts of Tucker.

As of Friday, DNR and Forsyth County used side scan sonar in the water, while a K9 from Dawson County was on site. Also available as needed to aid in the search for Counts is the DNR helicopter, according to Melissa Cummings, DNR spokesperson.

Cummings said DNR will conduct surface searches throughout the morning and evening over the weekend and the FCFD will conduct surface searching around noon on Saturday and Sunday. Next week DNR rangers will continue surface searching during the morning and afternoon hours.  

Law enforcement agencies that were on the scene Friday include, surface searching by DNR side scan and patrol boats, DNR aviation, FCFD side scan and dive team, and the FCSO Mobile Command Post.

UPDATE: 2-14-13, 8:21 a.m.

Divers from Forsyth County Fire and Hall County Sheriff's Office have resumed their search this morning for the 47-year-old boater and fisherman missing on Lake Lanier since Monday night, according to Melissa Cummings, DNR spokesperson.

Cummings said the plan for today will include those divers and the continued use of side scans. The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office will also have their mobile command center back at the site (see video).

The search was suspended Wednesday night around 4:20 pm due to weather conditions.

UPDATE: 2-13-12, 11:02 a.m.

The search for a 47-year-old boater and fisherman missing on Lake Lanier since Monday night resumed at dawn today, according to Lt. Rick Doyle of the FCSO.

"At this point we have six boats in the water, two from DNR [Department of Natural Resources], one from SO [Sheriff's Office], one from the coast guard auxiliary and two from FCFD [Fire Department]," Doyle said.

"Once the morning fog and rain clears, DNR will have an air unit searching. Additionally, our county GIS (geographical information system) department is on scene to mark and grid our search area."

Melissa Cummings of DNR said that search efforts ended Tuesday evening between 5 and 6 p.m. due to inclement weather.

Original Article:

A multiagency search of Lake Lanier and surrounding shorelines is underway for a 47-year-old man missing in what appears to be a single boat accident, according to officials with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office and Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

At about 9:48 p.m. Monday, DNR was called to investigate an unmanned 15-foot jon boat that was circling an area of the lake near Bald Ridge Creek at big rock. When authorities arrived they found the boat on a bank and out of gas.

"They [DNR] towed the boat to the boat ramp at Little Ridge Park off Lanier Beach South Road and began a missing person investigation," said Lt. Rick Doyle of the FCSO.

The investigation and search has been non-stop since DNR received the call Monday night.

"We have several agency boats searching the lake with side sonar scanning technology, patrol units searching the shoreline and DNR searching by air," said Doyle.

The Army Corp of Engineers, the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, the Forsyth County Fire Department dive team, along with Dawson County K9 search and rescue are all assisting DNR.

The name of the missing boater is being withheld at the request of family members. But the family did say he is an avid fisherman, is familiar with the lake and surrounding area.

The family told authorities that it wasn't uncommon for the man to fish at night, according to Sgt. Greg Colson with DNR.

Stay with Cumming Patch for developments on this story.

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