The body of an off-duty Effingham County firefighter who fell into the Ogeechee River, near the Bryan/Chatham line, while boating with his 10-year-old son Sunday was recovered within an hour of a search effort, according to a press release from the Savannah-Chatham Police Department.
The community tragedy triggered a multi-jurisdictional response to the rescue effort. In addition to Metro personnel and assets, the search and rescue/recovery operation included members of the victim’s family, Emergency Service workers and Sheriff’s Deputies from Effingham and Bryan Counties, as well as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Southside Fire/EMS.
The search and rescue mission was launched shortly before 8 p.m. after the boy steered the boat back to shore. He told witnesses that his father had taken ill, fallen into the river, and not emerged.
The man was identified as 34-year-old James Neil Andrews. His body was found around 9 p.m. Sunday night about half a mile from the shore near the Morgan’s River Bridge. The body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.