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CSRA’s spike in drownings continues, this time claiming a 32-year-old man

After another drowning this weekend we’ve now seen five people die in our local waterways in just a month.
Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 9:10 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 10:38 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - One person died Tuesday night in a drowning in Wilkes County, the latest in a string of drowning across the CSRA in recent weeks.

It happened in a pool at a home at 615 Spring St. in Washington, according to Wilkes County Coroner J. Blake Thompson.

Thompson said the victim was identified as Tracy Lynn Milton, 32, of Washington.

He didn’t live at the home but lived about two blocks away, according to Thompson.

According to Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Milton wasn’t an invited guest at the home. Deputies say Milton and some others apparently trespassed so they could go swimming while the owners were away.

Deputies say Milton jumped into the deep end and experienced problems.

There was at least one other adult among the trespassers, who jumped in to try to help Milton, but that person also experienced problems swimming in the deep water, deputies said.

When that rescue attempt was unsuccessful, the trespassers called 911, authorities said.

Thompson said emergency medical crews received the call at 8:28 p.m. and arrived at 8:29.

Deputies said rescue crews found Milton at the bottom of the pool.

Responders were unable to resuscitate him, and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:56 p.m.

“We appreciate all that assisted and for Washington Fire Rescue immediately going in to pull the victim from the deep end of the pool,” Wilkes County Emergency Services posted Wednesday morning on Facebook.

Responders said they “send our deepest condolences to the family and friends.”

While this latest drowning was at a home, the other recent ones have been in local lakes, rivers and creeks:

A troubling increase in drownings

Authorities spoke to News 12 a few days ago, offering safety tips amid the uptick in drownings.

“One of the most important things that we want people to do when they’re around water anybody, even if you’re an Olympic swimmer we want you to have a life jacket,” said Cpl. Ben Payne of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The increase in drownings could indicate more people getting back outside after a long year cooped up.

“All of us as human beings, we need our recreation time,” said Payne.

As we venture outside, it’s also important to remember safety comes first. There needs to be a life jacket for every person on a boat and kids under 13 need to wear them at all times. But DNR recommends everyone wear them whenever they aren’t in a swimming area where they can stand.

“Very often, a would-be rescuer that tries to get in the water to help that drowning victim is also pulled under, and they become a victim themselves,” said William Caskey, a Coast Guard Auxiliary member.

Officials warn about water safety as latest local drowning victim is mourned and preparations are made for the funeral of another.

Mark McKinnon with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the best advice to avoid drowning is to wear a lifejacket and know where you are.

“Know your surroundings know what’s in the water, if you’re in a natural body of water, it’s a good idea not to go in head-first,” McKinnon said.

“Most people just don’t believe it will happen to them, so they don’t often take the proper safety precautions.”

What you can do

As more people are heading to the water this summer, Georgia DNR also has a campaign with advice for being safe while out on the water. It’s called the SPLASH campaign. It can show you how to make your own water rescue tool kit or even donate a life jacket to be used in the community. You can find more information by clicking here.

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