UPDATE #3: Missing swimmer spent the night in the park

UPDATE #3. 1:00 P.M TUESDAY: HCSO says Rutledge was found after he flagged down a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the park about 9:00 Tuesday morning. He said he swam away from his friends to an island but when he swam back to the park, they had left so he spent the night in the park. Rutledge said he had no phone, so he had no way of calling for help.

“While this incident had a positive outcome, it serves as a good reminder to be cautious
while swimming in Lake Lanier,” HCSO spokeswoman B.J. Williams wrote in an email. “That includes not swimming alone, communicating clearly with fellow swimmers and keeping track of those who may be in your group.”

UPDATE #2. POSTED 10 A.M. TUESDAY: The Hall County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) reports that he has been “safely located. Further details are forthcoming.”

UPDATE #1. POSTED 9 A.M. TUESDAY: The search for a young man reported missing by friends who were swimming with him in Lake Lanier Monday night has been called off.

“The game wardens thoroughly searched the area where the missing man was swimming with boat mounted sonar,” Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Tuesday morning. “The Hall County Fire Department utilized their Remote Operated Vessel (ROV), and GSP (Georgia State Patrol) aviation flew the surrounding area.  At this time, the search has been called off with the belief that the missing man left the area.”

EARLIER STORY. POSTED MIDNIGHT MONDAY: Authorities are looking for Zachary Rutledge, 20, of Winder, who was last seen around 8:00 Monday night at Burton Mill Park on Lake Lanier.

Rutledge went swimming with two friends, but the friends lost sight of him. It is possible he swam back to shore and left the park, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. If that is the case, deputies are asking anyone who might have seen him or knows where he is to contact 911 or Hall County Dispatch at 770-536-8812.

Rutledge is 5’10” and weighs 120 pounds. He has curly brown hair. He was wearing swim trunks and may be wearing a silver chain necklace.