A 17 year old Springfield boy drowned Sunday afternoon while swimming at the Floating Mill Recreation area on Center Hill Lake.
TWRA Officer Mike Beaty told WJLE that the young Hispanic boy was at the lake with a group of family and friends enjoying a Memorial Day weekend outing when the tragic incident occurred.
According to Officer Beaty, the victim and another boy who were inside the designated swimming area, decided to swim the approximately 75 yard distance from the bank to the buoys on the far side. As the boys were swimming across, one of the them began screaming for help. Other swimmers in the area came to his rescue and pulled him to shore. While this boy was being tended to, the other youth who had not called out for help or shown any signs of distress, suddenly disappeared in the water.
Swimmers in the area frantically tried to find the boy. Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake Resource Manager, who was off duty but present at the time, dove into the lake looking for the youth.
911 received the call at 1:33 p.m. and TWRA Officers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Rangers, members of the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department all soon arrived on the scene.
Officer Beaty said TWRA officers used side scan sonar to pinpoint the location and the Rescue Squad pulled up the body after making only three passes over the area with a drag bar. The youth, who was found in about seven to eight feet of water, was pronounced dead by the medical examiner. The body was recovered at 2:20 p.m., less than an hour after he drowned.
Because he is a juvenile, Officer Beaty would not release the boy's name.
Officer Beaty was joined by fellow TWRA Officers Tommy Stockling, Tommy Alexander, and Jason Miller. Corps Rangers on the scene included Chris Cantrell, Ben MacIntyre and Gary Bruce.
The boy's death marks the first drowning of the year on Center Hill Lake.