Dept. of Natural Resources gives more details on possible Lake Sinclair drowning

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Department of Natural Resources believes the drowning of a man Monday was accidental.

“The navigation lights, front a rear, were on,” said Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Bo Kelly. “Two rod and reels with hooks and lines were in the water.”

An empty boat out on the water on Lake Sinclair is unusual.

“(There were) two cell phones and other personal equipment inside the vessel,” said Kelly.

It looked like someone had just been there, which is why Sgt. Bo Kelly with the Department of Natural Resources and the team of investigators knew something wasn’t right Tuesday afternoon.

“At that point we determined that we probably had someone in the water,” said Kelly. “There was a very high probability of it.”

The boat belonged to 40-year-old Roba Jackson–investigators found his body underwater at Lake Sinclair.

DNR used every resource to find him.

“We started utilizing our vessel-mounted SONAR and our sector scan SONOR which is a unit that drops to the bottom of the lake and actually maps the entire bottom,” said Kelly.

Sgt. Kelly says it looks like an accident.

“He did have some fishing line in his hand, and one of them was around his torso,” said Kelly. “We believe he probably had fallen in and was reaching out to grab the rod and pulled the line out with him. It appeared to be his own fishing line.”

His family is shocked–they said Roba is a good swimmer and he didn’t have any medical issues.

“They took it hard, just like anybody who lost a loved one would,” said Kelly. “When we made notification they, I think, could see it was heading that direction.”

That’s why Sgt. Kelly stresses the importance of a life jacket.

“I’ve never recovered a drowning victim that had a life jacket on that worked,” said Kelly. “So, it does save your life.”