Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division law enforcement officers have recovered the body of Ira Braitsch (age 64), of Lawrenceville from the Chattahoochee River in an area just south of McGinnis Ferry Road in Suwanee. Braitsch had been missing since Sunday, March 7, 2010 when the aluminum jon boat capsized while he was boating with a friend, Michael Boyle. Boyle, (age 67) also of Lawrenceville, was rescued on Sunday and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. He is currently still in the hospital.
The response and search effort included personnel from the following agencies: Gwinnett County Fire, Forsyth County Fire, Johns Creek Fire and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Rescue teams were able to locate and recover the boat on Sunday about three-quarters of a mile south of McGinnis Ferry Road. Firefighters and DNR Officers continued to search and exhaust all resources to find the missing boater, including utilizing sonar devices provided by Forsyth and Gwinnett water rescue teams. The search was terminated at approximately 6 p.m. on Sunday, with the scene turned over to DNR officials.
Department officers returned to the scene and resumed the search for the missing boater Monday morning. With the aid of a state aviation helicopter (piloted by a Georgia State Patrol pilot and with spotter DNR officer Sgt. Mike Burgamy) the victim was located one-quarter of a mile below Suwannee Creek (mile marker 336), which is approximately three miles from the original incident scene. The recovery of the victim concluded at 11:50 am.
According to information from an earlier release by Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the boat reportedly struck a log in the river, causing it to overturn, sending the two men into the water. A second boater encountered the capsized boat approximately ten minutes after the incident and saw both men in the water. According to this witness, one man was with the overturned boat and the second was in the middle of the water across the river. The witness was able to reach the man in the river and was attempting to reach the second man at the overturned boat. Before he could reach him the boat was pulled under and took the man with it. That was the last contact that he had with the missing boater.