23-year-old man found dead in 10 feet of water at popular Georgia lake, officials say

A 23-year-old man drowned while swimming in a popular Georgia lake, officials said.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the victim, identified as Edgar Steven Cruz Martinez, was swimming Saturday, Aug. 26, in Lake Lanier when he “went under and did not resurface.”

After responding to the lake for a possible drowning, game wardens discovered Martinez’s body in 10 feet of water, officials said.

It’s unclear what led to Martinez going under water.

The drowning happened in the Gwinnett County portion of the lake. Gwinnett County is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Martinez is one of several people to have died in Lake Lanier in the last month.

Bryan Tarasona, 22, died after he went under on Aug. 21 while swimming to shore with two friends, McClatchy News reported. A few weeks earlier, a man was electrocuted and two others drowned in the popular lake, according to McClatchy News.

More than 200 people have died in Lake Lanier since 1994, USA Today reported.

The history of Lake Lanier

The man-made reservoir was built in phases from 1950 to 1957 and hit “full pool” in August 1958, according to the lake’s website. Originally envisioned as a hydroelectric power source, Lake Lanier now provides drinking water to much of metro Atlanta.

Its development didn’t come without some controversy, however. Construction for the dam led to the seizure of 56,000 acres of private land and “effectively erased” a predominately Black town known as Oscarville, according to the site.

More than 1,000 predominantly Black residents, businesses and cemeteries were displaced, according to the website.

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