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Locals urged to stay safe in waterways

Published 11:50am Saturday, January 11, 2014

The community mourns the tragic loss of a teenager in the neighboring town of Donalsonville.
Matthew Jernigan, 17, fought for his life Tuesday when he and friends went into the icy waters of Lake Seminole in the morning.
Allegedly the three friends were all duck hunting and as one reached for a decoy in the water, the boat filled with water and began to sink. While two left the scene, one did not.
Jernigan was a young and vibrant teenager and extremely active in sports and other activities at Southwest Georgia Academy.
It is safe to say hundreds are mourning his loss and grieving his all-too-early departure.
During investigations for this case this week, numerous officials have stated that of all accidents they have seen on the lake and river, they have never recovered a body from the water that was wearing a life jacket.
We encourage all those participating in water activities on the lake and river to use caution and always plan for safety. Wear lifejackets and know they can save lives.
The jackets may impede comfortable hunting, but once a dangerous incident begins on water, it quickly can spin out of control. Wearing a lifejacket is not about the level of ability of a swimmer, they are for everyone.

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