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Teen Drowns While Rescuing a Child

By: Alex Zequeira
By: Alex Zequeira

A Geneva County family is mourning after losing a loved one, who drowned while trying to save someone else.

It was supposed to be a fun afternoon on the Pea River. A couple of teens went out for a swim just north of Highway 27. That's when the trouble started

"There were two teenagers and a younger kid swimming in the river, and the younger child had gotten into some kind of trouble out on the water," said Chief Frankie Lindsey of Geneva Police Dept.

Authorities say that's when 19-year-old Bradley Whiteside jumped in to help his friend, a younger teenager who was apparently caught in whirlpool. The boy was able to get out to safety, but the strong current pulled Whiteside under.

"He lost his breath and went under, came back to the top then went under again, and never came back up," said Chief Lindsey.

Search crews and dive teams from Houston and Geneva Counties immediately responded to the scene. After three hours of searching, they found Whiteside's body.

Upon hearing the news of her son's death, Whiteside's mother could not contain herself.

Officials hoping, this tragedy to serve as a reminder that certain parts of the Pea River were not meant for swimming.

"There are some ridges here that have some washouts under them, currents flow up under them, and if you get out of control when you're swimming out there, you'll go under one of those ridges and possible lose your life," said Asst. Chief Tony Clemmons.

"It's a good place to fish, but not a real good place to swim as far as I'm concerned," said Chief Lindsey.

Authorities say the three young men who were out on the Pea River did know how to swim and that Whiteside was a good swimmer. However strong current caused him to drown, but say they will continue to investigate to determine if there were any other factors involved.

Geneva County officials say the part of the river where the drowning took place can go as deep as 20 to 25 feet.


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