A report has been issued by the federal government relating to the drowning death of a nine-year-old girl in Georgia. Allsouth Tubing, a Gwinnett County company, rented tubing equipment to the girl and her family. The company failed to warn the family of the Buford Dam’s pending release or what to do in case of an emergency. This was the finding of the federal report released last month. It was reported that Allsouth Tubing could face criminal charges in the girl’s death. Before Anna Van Horn and others in her group ever embarked on the ill-fated excursion in June, Allsouth Tubing should have reviewed the dangers, as required by federal law that governs the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, according to the U.S. National Parks Service report. Within minutes of entering the Chattahoochee River with two adults and three siblings, the little girl after being swept downstream by the river’s currents. She was still wearing her life jacket when she was pulled lifeless from the water about two hours later. The group was “unaware of the scheduled water release that was to occur at 2:55 p.m. approximately 2.5 miles upstream,” the report states.
Allsouth Tubing, also known as $10 River Tubing, has locations in Duluth and Sugar Hill, where the group rented tubes. It appears that the business has been closed. The Parks Service interviewed numerous witnesses in its investigation of the incident before revoking the permit for Allsouth, according to Nancy Walther, a spokeswoman for the National Parks Service. Interestingly, the company was forced to close both locations, but recently re-applied and was granted a permit to re-open the Duluth location after being instructed to better educate customers on safety concerns.
The federal report has been sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors then will determine if criminal charges are warranted. The Buford Dam releases water daily because the dam produces hydro-electric power for surrounding counties. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers schedules water releases based on a variety of factors. Communities need more power in the hotter parts of the day, making the afternoon a popular time for water releases. Also, most areas of metro Atlanta, as well as other communities, depend on the water.
Warning systems are in place to make river revelers aware of the dam’s releases. In addition to signs, sirens sound when the dam releases. Further down the river, there are two options for those wanting to stay safe. Those in the area can tune in to radio station AM1610 or call 770-945-1466 to hear a message, recorded daily, explaining the day’s dam release schedule.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution
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