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Posted: Monday, August 6th 2012 at 11:24pm

Habersham teen drowns in Tallulah Falls Lake

By Rob Moore Editor
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Rescue boats from Stephens and Rabun counties respond up Tallulah Falls Lake Monday night. (Photo/Rob Moore)
TALLULAH FALLS – A Habersham County teen drowned while swimming with friends in Tallulah Falls Monday afternoon.

Capt. Gerald Johnson, chief investigator for Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, provided details of the incident.

“Today, on Aug. 6, between approximately 4 and 5 p.m., two young males and a young female were out swimming in an area of Tallulah Falls Lake,” Johnson said. “It’s just inside Rabun County.”

“The female subject is 18-year-old Hannah Jones from Habersham County,” Johnson said. “The male subject is Kendall Countryman, 19 years old from Habersham County, and their friend Jordan Phimmachack from Habersham County was 17 years old.”

“Jordan Phimmachack began struggling in the water while they were swimming and had trouble staying above the surface,” Johnson said. “His friend Kendall Countryman attempted to assist Jordan to the water’s edge, but unfortunately was unsuccessful.”

Emergency personnel were called to the scene, with Tallulah Falls Fire and Rescue, Tallulah Falls Police Department, Habersham Emergency Medical Services, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources responding initially.

Habersham County Fire Department, Rabun County Rescue, Rabun County Emergency Management Agency, Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and other agencies also responded, along with Habersham Emergency Management Agency, Habersham County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol.

Dive teams from Stephens County Emergency Management Agency and Towns County Dive Team were called and responded.

“At 7:38 p.m., divers from [Stephens County] and divers from the Towns County Search and Rescue recovered the body of Jordan Phimmachack,” Johnson said.

“Several agencies were also involved in the recovery efforts, the outpouring of local communities’ emergency services who were willing to come help in this tragic situation,” Johnson said.

Dive teams from Oconee County, S.C., and the Hall County Sheriff's Office also were called and were on standby to respond.

“At this time, the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office and Tallulah Falls Police Department are investigating the incident,” Johnson said. “At this time, we don’t have any reason to suspect foul play.”

“Once we recovered Mr. Phimmachack’s body, the Rabun County coroner was contacted and upon further discussion, as a matter of procedure, Mr. Phimmachack was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of Forensic Science for the purpose of an autopsy,” Johnson said.

Chaplains from several public safety agencies and at least two local ministers met with family members and friends at Tallulah Falls Town Hall, where local restaurants had provided food for the 60 rescuers and the affected families.
Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News

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