Charges Filed in Boating Accident That Took Life of GA Firefighter-EMT

Chandler Patterson was with friends on Lake Tugaloo when the accident happened.
Chandler Patterson, center. (Photo/Gainesville Fire Department)

Tim Darnell

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Charges have been filed in the weekend boating death of a popular, 27-year-old Georgia firefighter.

According to the Gainesville Fire Department, Chandler Patterson was with friends on Lake Tugaloo when the accident happened on Saturday.

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources confirmed to local media outlets that Patterson and another person were on a tube in the water and were being pulled by the operator of a bass boat.

Patterson, who was not wearing a life jacket, fell off the tube, said Mark McKinnon, department spokesperson. The operator of the boat turned around to pick him up and “possibly ran over him in the water.”

The boat’s operator was arrested for boating under the influence, McKinnon said.

Patterson’s body, according to officials, was located and recovered by the Oconee County, South Carolina dive team in about 117 feet of water around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Lake Tugalo is a 597-acre reservoir with 18 miles of shoreline in northeast Georgia in Habersham and Rabun counties, and also lies partially in Oconee County, South Carolina.

“Chandler was a super friendly person with an incredible personality,” the department said in a Facebook post. “He brought smiles to everyone around him with his laid back and caring demeanor. He will be missed dearly!”

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