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Savannah man drowns in Ogeechee
kings ferry landing sign
Kings Ferry Landing is on the Ogeechee River at the Bryan/Chatham county line. - photo by Chatham County Rec. Dept. photo

A Savannah man drowned Wednesday afternoon in the Ogeechee River after his boat apparently had motor trouble.

The man was identified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division as Robert Washington, 64. A dive team pulled Washington’s body from the river at King’s Ferry on the Bryan-Chatham county line about an hour after a fisherman reported seeing him go under the water.

The witness, Robert May, told the DNR that Washington appeared to be tending to a motor problem with his boat. The boat motor was found in an upright position, said Sgt. Cindy Miller of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.

“One minute [the witness] saw him in the boat, and the next minute he saw him in the water,” Miller said. “He saw the man go underwater. He saw the top of his head come up, and then he went back under.”

May jumped into the water to try to help, Miller said, but he was unable to reach Washington.

“The current was so strong that he almost was swept up under the dock,” Miller said.

May got out of the water and called 911 at about 4:50 p.m. Wednesday. A dive team, police helicopter and other boaters helped in the search for Washington’s body, which was recovered around 5:30 p.m., according to Miller.

An autopsy is being done today at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah to determine if any factor, such as a heart attack or seizure, led to Washington’s drowning, Miller said.

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