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Search effort turns to recovery

By Greg Gelpi and Michael Davis

Divers continued to search the waters of Lake Spivey Monday for the body of a man last seen early Monday morning.

The man, described as a 55-year-old from the Clayton-Henry area, reportedly fell out of a ski boat around midnight Sunday, said Henry County fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett.

Speed and alcohol may have contributed to the accident.

Puckett said the man was sitting on the edge of the boat while operating it and "made a sharp turn at a high rate of speed."

There were three others in the boat at the time, the missing man's fianc?e and another couple, Puckett said.

Based on witness interviews, Puckett said rescuers turned to recovery of a body. No one else in the boat was injured.

Puckett said eight to 12 divers were in the water Monday afternoon. That number grew to about 30 to 40 as the Clayton County Police Department and Spalding County Sheriff's Office dive teams joined the efforts of the Henry County Fire Department search and rescue team.

Puckett said the department was told the lake was 20 to 30 feet deep where the man fell in.

Divers continued to search until about 7:30 p.m. Monday and are expected to return at about 7:30 this morning.

It is illegal in Georgia to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Clayton County police Capt. Jeff Turner said that it is "not too often" that someone drowns in Lake Spivey.

The incident could be the only fatality reported in Henry and Clayton counties during the Independence Day holiday.

While some took to the lakes, brothers Dave Murphy and Jeff Murphy took to the park with family members, taking advantage of their day off from work.

Covering the grill with an assortment of hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs and "everything that's bad for you," Jeff Murphy coated the Fourth of July lunch with a "gumbo of barbecue sauces."

The family spent Monday grilling and playing sports at Lovejoy Park.

"We're trying to get them some activity out here," Dave Murphy said.