Dept. of Natural Resources ranger helps save Lake Juliette boaters

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FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – “It was a cold morning,” said First Class Ranger Jeremy Reese with the Department of Natural Resources. “The wind was blowing probably in excess of 30 miles per hour.”

The weather on Lake Juliette can get fierce.

It didn’t make it any better for three teens out on a duck hunting trip early Saturday morning.

“Upper twenties, and it was very cold,” said Reese.

The boaters had taken on water and were beginning to sink.

“It was submerged under water–it was barely floating,” said Reese.

They called for help, and First Class Ranger Jeremy Reese with the Department of Natural Resources was on the rescue team.

“The wind was kind blowing them toward the dam, and they were just pretty much holding on for life,” said Reese.

Reese helped pull them to safety.

“Right when we got them out of the water, it wasn’t much time before the vehicles were coming up the dam, we got them to the vehicles as fast as could,” said Reese. “The heaters were wide open and then as soon as they got into the vehicles, they got transported to the ambulance.”

It was close call for the teens.

“Anybody that had been exposed to water for the period of time that these gentlemen were, it poses a real danger,” said Reese.

One teen suffered hypothermia, but all three should be just fine.

Reese says accidents do happen, and it’s important to not be distracted when you’re thinking about boat safety.

“When you go hunting, you don’t think about a lot of the safety equipment that’s required in boating like you would in the summertime,” said Reese.

It’s just as important no matter the weather out on the lake–winter or summer.

“You’ll need to make sure all of your navigational lights work, along with your fire extinguisher and whatever else you require, and most important, you need to have your life jackets and especially in a hunting scenario it’s important to be wearing them at all times,” said Reese.

Reese says to also make sure your boat’s navigational lights are on and your fire extinguisher works.