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'No way you can get out': Teen's drowning in Oconee River highlights importance of water safety

Signs warn of past drownings in the area. It's where 15-year-old Alex Carreto lost his footing.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Monday afternoon, crews recovered the body of a teen missing on the Oconee River in Milledgeville since about 3 p.m. Sunday. 

The Department of Natural Resources says 15-year old Alex Escobar Carreto was fishing with friends and family when he slipped and fell into the water. 

DNR ranger Sgt. Bubba Stanford tells us more about what happened.

"As turbulent as it was, it would probably take a real good swimmer under,” he says. 

Stanford is talking about the section known as the Tailraces. It's a narrow shoot with steep banks where waters discharge after going through the generators at Sinclair Dam. 

Signs warn of past drownings in the area. It's where 15-year-old Alex Carreto lost his footing.

"Search efforts were delayed yesterday afternoon because it takes some time for the dam to cease generating to where we can actually get boats and be able to utilize search equipment,” Stanford explains.

The Carreto family declined to speak to the media. However, they watched and supported the rescuers during the search. 

"The Milledgeville Police Department has an interpreter here that we are periodically speaking with the family. I know they just had a prayer session over here, the friends and family on scene. With any updates, we speak to them,” Stanford says.

"It just pulls you under. Ain't no way you can come back up,” says Willie Freeman. 

Freeman says he's been fishing at this location for over a decade. He says a lot of people from out of town come here. 

"Yesterday, it was a free day for fishing where anyone that wanted to come out. I saw a lot of those yesterday."

Freeman says that these waters are more dangerous than people think. 

"The rocks be wet sometimes and they're very slippery. If you fall in, there ain't no way you can get out,” he explains. 

Freeman suggests staying behind the railing and always wearing a life vest.

"It could've happened to me or one of my kids, so you've got to be extra careful when you're fishing out here,” Freeman says. 

Several specialized teams helped with the search, including a Sumter County dive team from Americus and a sonar boat.

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