Henry County officials continue to investigate a spring break drowning incident

Published: Mar. 27, 2019 at 4:30 PM CDT
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As spring break continues and summer draws near, Henry County officials are asking the public to be safe and cautious while out on the water.

"The main thing about the lake and safety, the number one rule on the lake or river or never swim alone," says Henry County Coroner Derek Wright.

Two Georgia brothers were out on Lake Eufaula Tuesday afternoon…enjoying their spring break vacation.

Wright., says "Mr. Tyson Thomas and his younger brother were swimming at a place up on Riverview Forest. It's what they call the 'beach area.' "

Wright says the younger brother got bored an decided to head back to their house.

"He got almost home and he said he just had a feeling that he needed to go back and check on his brother. When he got back ...he found his brother floating,” replied Wright.

Will Maddox, Henry County Sheriff, says "The deputies responded and within about 13 minutes they were on the scene. The body of the 14-year-old had been pulled out of the water and they were administering CPR."

Thomas was taken to Barbour Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"He had some abrasions on his head and face where he had looked like he had slipped on the rocks and wound up in the water,” replied Maddox.

"The beach area is real rocky and also slick. The rocks are slick and also there's limestone that's real slick," said Wright.

Wright has been the Henry County Coroner for 18 years and he says he's investigated at least one drowning every year.

"I think the little brother is going to have a hard time with this...probably for the rest of his life. I just hate it. I hate it for the family. They're going to need all the prayers they can get. This is a very sad and difficult time for them," replied Wright.

As temperatures begin to rise and summer is just a few months away, Henry County officials are urging everyone to be safe on and in the water.

"On Lake Eufaula...this time of year...the air temperature is a lot warmer than the water temperature. So, you've got to watch the water temperature because hypothermia can set in at 55 degrees water temperature," said Maddox.

"Just be very cautious of your surroundings...just don't go diving in the water," replied Wright.

Wright shared a couple of other safety pre-cautions to take while on the water…such as:

• Wearing a life vest when on the boat…if you don't know how to swim and you're out on the water,

• If you don't know how to swim and you're out on the water, be sure to wear a life vest in the water.

• If you're 21 and older, be sure to drink responsibly.

This is an on-going investigation.

Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox says he wants to know more about what happened and why.