Tifton teen drowns in Lowndes County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tifton teen drowns in Lowndes County

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) –The body of a Tifton teenager was pulled from the Withlacoochee River in Lowndes County where he drowned while swimming with friends Monday night.

The teenager's friends we talked to Tuesday say they're doing the best they can to deal with the death after they tried to rescue him.

Eighteen year old Devon Smith of Tifton drowned in the Withlacoochee River Monday night in Lowndes County around 8:30.

"He was a tremendous person," said Smith's friend Buck Benson. "He was very smart and he actually had a scholarship to wrestle."

Smith and a group of friends were at Blue Springs in Florida which flows into the Withlacoochee River. The park was closing so they decided to make another stop.

They stopped off at the Withlacoochee River near the Florida Georgia line at a popular spot where teens go in the summer to swim, swing off the ropes, and hang out.

Smith swung off a rope into the river like one teen was out doing Monday.

"My friend and I had him but like he started panicking too much and then like two or three guys came up and tried to help him but he was too strong," said Smith's friend Martin Segovia. "He was panicking and swinging everywhere."

His friends couldn't rescue him.

"My friend went under as far as he could grab him and he just said he felt his fingertips," said Segovia.

The Lowndes County authorities including a dive team and fire department rescue squad along with DNR searched for Smith. Smith's body was pulled from the bottom of the river this morning around 7:30.

"Our prayers go out to the family," said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.

"It was hard for everybody, everybody that was there," said Segovia.

They're trying to cope the best they can with the friend they laughed with, were classmates with, and wrestled with.

Devon Smith graduated from Tift County High School this year.

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