One teen was killed, two rescued after boat accident -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

One teen was killed, two rescued after boat accident


Two teenagers remained hospitalized in Donalsonville Tuesday night being treated for hypothermia as a community mourned the loss of their friend.

"We did have one that was not successful at getting out of the water," said DNR Law Enforcement Division Capt. Jeff Swift describing Tuesday morning's boat accident on Lake Seminole. 

17 year-old Matthew Jernigan drowned. His body was recovered about 5:00 p.m.

Somehow he and two classmates from Southwest Georgia Academy, Pason Trawick and Thomas Vines, were thrown from their boat while duck hunting a little after 8:30 a.m.

The other two boys swam to a nearby island. They managed to make a brief 911 call that set off a massive search that included more than 20 boats, three helicopters, and several planes.

"There was just dozens of volunteers from the community trying to help and do whatever they could to support the family. And it would have been nice if it would have been a rescue but the were there for the recovery efforts as well," said Capt. Swift.

Trawick and Vines were spotted by a volunteer helicopter pilot and rescued fairly quickly. Jernigan decided to float on a gas tank and eventually went under.

The Sheriff urges everyone to wear life jackets on the water to prevent a tragedy like this. "Anybody that goes out on the water, no matter what activity you're doing on the water, to have a floatation device. I think everybody needs a life jacket on," said Seminole County Sheriff Heath Elliot.

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday at the crime lab in Macon. The DNR continues to investigate.

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