Smith's cause of death undetermined - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Smith's cause of death undetermined

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

Baker County, GA (WALB) –  The body of a Thomasville man was recovered early Monday morning from the Flint River in Baker County.

 Two fishermen spotted 35-year-old Brian Smith's body about a quarter mile from where searchers found his boat Saturday afternoon.

Investigators say he had no diving or snorkeling equipment when he was found. Inside Smith's boat, he had his wallet, a hand gun, and a camera. On that camera investigators found a picture of a fish taken around 3:30 Saturday afternoon, but they're still not sure what caused Smith's death.

Just after 10:00AM, the ambulance carrying Brian Smith's body left Norman's Ferry Boat Landing in Baker County. Smith's body surfaced overnight. "Early this morning about 7:30 in this area directly behind the board before you get to the run of the river in the slack water right here," said DNR-Law Enforcement SGT David Ruddell.

Sonny Kelly and Ben Wester had promised to keep an eye out for Smith when they were on the river Sunday, and it wasn't long into their fishing trip that they spotted him. 05:34:52 Ben "Slowed the boat down and looked over and said 'There he is,' and I saw him too," said Wester.

"I hate it for his family," said Kelly. "We just happen to come across his body hung up in a rock bed."

The two called 911 and rescue crews who were preparing to search again were already at the landing.

"He was an avid outdoors man from what I can gather, but accidents happen, it doesn't matter who you are it can happen," said Investigator Ronald McMillian of the Baker County Sheriff's Office. 

That's why law enforcement is quick to caution those on the river to always travel in pairs, especially when the river is shallow. 

"It's always good any time you're around a water environment to have others with you as a safety precaution, but there are steps anybody can take like coming out here with life jackets and such like that," said Ruddell.

 Brian Smith's body has been sent to the medical examiners office in an attempt to determine a cause of death.

The State Patrol used a helicopter over the weekend to help search for Smith. Baker County Sheriff's Officers also thanked the DNR and local dive teams and volunteers who helped search for Smith.


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