Construction worker drowns - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Construction worker drowns

April 6, 2004

Lee County--A South Georgia surveyor drowned in the Kinchafoonee Creek as co-workers tried to save him Tuesday afternoon.

"We went for him as fast as we could, just couldn't make it to him," witness Zach Bowling said.

Within seconds, the victim was gone. It all happened so suddenly, there was nothing three members of a survey crew could do to save their co-worker. They were working along the Kinchafoonee Creek in Lee County, just upstream from the Highway 19 bridge, and just downstream from the dead end of Creekside Drive.

Rescuers rushed to the area moments after getting a call that a man disappeared in the water.

"He just started calling for help, and we all just went for it. Couldn't get to him," Bowling said.

Zach Bowling and three other men were doing survey work for Oxford Construction Company. Bowling and Christan Taulbee, 31, were working in the water when Taulbee went under, then screamed for help. Bowling said.

"He come up a couple more times, and that was just it."

The water was calm, but the creek bed is uneven.

"He mighta stepped in a hole and then panicked."

The other three men tried unsuccessfully to rescue Taulbee, then called 911.

"That he had gone under and they could not rescue him, and they were asking for assistance."

Forty-five minutes after that call, divers were in the water. It took only about ten minutes to find the body.

"He was recovered about 200 yards from where he went in at in about seven foot of water."

Two hours after they arrived, emergency crews left with less urgency. Unfortunately, not as rescuers, but with their recovery job complete.

Christan Taulbee lived in Lee County. He also had family in Florida and Ohio.

ben.roberts@walb.com