A man reportedly died after taking a dip in the largest lake in Georgia over the weekend.
The victim, 23-year-old Edgar Steven Cruz Martinez, went swimming in Lake Lanier and did not come back up to the surface on Saturday, Aug. 26, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. First responders were called to the area around 3 a.m. after a report of a potential drowning.
During their search, officials located Martinez’s body in 10 feet of water and pulled him out, the outlet reported. Per WXIA-TV, he was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Lake Lanier, an impoundment that was created in the late 1950s by damming the Chattahoochee River, provides drinking water to some 5 million people in north Georgia and serves as an area where visitors go for recreational activities like fishing, boating and swimming. However, there’s a dark history attached to the reservoir, and some residents think it’s cursed because it was built on top of a cemetery.
Before the lake’s development, there was a booming Black community dubbed Oscarville. According to reports, an angry mob destroyed the town after a white woman was found dead in 1912. Many residents were pushed out and died trying to escape the violence. The reservoir was created decades later, washing away the area’s existence and rich legacy.
Last weekend’s incident marks the latest death and drowning claimed by the lake in the past few months. In July, a 61-year-old man and 27-year-old man did not resurface after swimming in the water on the same day, according to USA Today. A few days before, another man drowned and was electrocuted. Per the report, over 210 people have died between 1994 and 2022. The data includes deaths from drowning and boating accidents.
In an Instagram Story on Wednesday, Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Foster, shared a post about the recent death at the lake and urged her supporters to sign a petition she launched in May. It comes after 11-year-old son Kile Glover died after a jet ski-related incident in 2012.
“Have you signed my petition yet?” she wrote. “The tragedies at Lake Lanier are preventable, and the issues at the lake need to be addressed.”
Her Change.org petition, which has over 8,091 signatures, calls for officials to “clean, restore and improve safety measures at Lake Lanier.”
“Draining, cleaning, and restoring Lake Lanier is not only necessary but also an opportunity to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives and prevent further tragedies,” the petition states.