Missing Lake Lanier Swimmer Found Safe After Spending The Night in a Park

July 9, 2024
1 min read
Missing Lake Lanier Swimmer Found Safe After Spending The Night in a Park

Zachary Rutledge, the 20-year-old Winder man reported missing at Lake Lanier, was found safe Tuesday morning after spending the night in Burton Mill Park.

🏊‍♂️ What’s Happened:

  • Rutledge was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Monday, July 8, after his friends lost sight of him while swimming.
  • He was found safe just before 9 a.m. Tuesday when he flagged down a Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy patrolling the park.

🔍 Between the Lines:

  • Rutledge had swum from the shore to an island and back, but upon his return, he found his friends had left.
  • Without a phone, he was unable to call for help and spent the night in the park.
  • Rutledge heard search helicopters but didn’t realize they were looking for him.

🚁 Catch Up Quick: The search operation involved:

  • Water searches by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Hall County Fire Rescue
  • Aerial searches conducted by the Georgia State Patrol

🌊 The Big Picture: While this incident had a positive outcome, it serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of swimming in large bodies of water like Lake Lanier. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office emphasizes the importance of not swimming alone, communicating clearly with fellow swimmers, and keeping track of group members. This event underscores the need for continued public awareness about water safety practices.


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