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Maclay Gardens Drowning

A Georgia teen is dead after drowning in a local lake. It happened at Maclay Gardens just outside the swimming area.

Witnesses say it was a game of tag between two teens on this dock, but something went terribly wrong. They jumped into the water on the far side of the barriers and one of them went under.

Carlos Mendez witnessed the drowning and says, "The first one started swimming, the second one got kind of scared and tried to grab the first one. At that point the first one started swimming faster the other one stayed behind. By the time we started swimming we could see him struggle with water and then suddenly went down."

That group immediately rushed into the water when they heard the lifeguard's whistle. They ran over to the dock as you can see the water behind is extremely murky, they said it took them 15-20 minutes before they found the body.

Beth Weidner, a park manager, said, "It's devastating, it's truly heart rending. Our lifeguards are very devastated. Our entire staff is upset."

The victim is 17-year-old Dwayne Copeland of Meigs, Georgia. Rescuers tried to revive him on the way to the hospital, but he had been under for too long.

What had started out as horseplay had taken only minutes to turn into tragedy. Dwayne Copeland was less than a month from his 18th birthday.


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