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Boating accident claims life of Guyton man on Lake Sinclair

POSTED: June 2, 2014 8:22 p.m.
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Grady Zeagler

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Authorities are waiting for the autopsy results on an Effingham County man who died as a result of a boating accident last week on Lake Sinclair.

Grady Zeagler, 66, died last week after a single-boat accident on the lake near Milledgeville. Zeagler, according to reports, had gone out fishing by himself.

Jeff Billups, the state Department of Natural Resources case agent, said he did not expect anything nefarious to result from the autopsy. The case remains investigation, he said, and he is working toward a conclusion on what happened.

“I understand he did have some health issues prior to this day,” he said. “It does not appear as if there was anything other than an unfortunate accident that occurred. It’s just a sad tragedy.”

Zeagler’s body was found in the area where his boat apparently struck a dock. There were no witnesses to the incident, which happened May 29. Billups said the collision likely happened during daylight hours but there was little other traffic on the lake at the time.

“Somebody would have called if they had seen something like that,” he said.

The family found Zeagler’s boat on the water and used it to find him, Billups said. Fishermen out on the lake by themselves is common during the week, he said, and the peak activity for reservoirs such as Sinclair occurs on the weekend, when fishermen are less inclined to go out on the water among jet skiers and others.

“Most fishermen are out early in the morning or late in the evening,” Billups said.

Lake Sinclair is a man-made reservoir that touches three counties — Baldwin, Hancock and Putnam.

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