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Body recovered from Amicalola
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The long Labor Day weekend proved deadly for an Atlanta man who drowned Sunday at a popular swimming hole in western Dawson County.

Authorities identified and recovered the body of 45-year-old Ramiro Ponce-Ruiz Monday afternoon from the Amicalola River in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division reported.

According to witness accounts, Ponce-Ruiz was swimming with family and friends when he swam out from the bank and dove under. When he surfaced, he was struggling and then went back under.

Dawson County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Ramsey said Inv. Bobby Samples, a member of the dive team, found the body just before 1 p.m. in about 20 feet of water.

Ramsey said the drowning occurred in an area of the Amicalola River that ranges in depth from very shallow to extremely deep.

"It was very, very deep water with swift current, very dangerous. The water there can be pretty treacherous, fast moving and deep," he said.

Two Dawson County K9 units alerted to the area in the river where Ponce-Ruiz was later found, according to Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield.

"We did two sweeps of the area and both dogs alerted to the same place," he said. "We were able to find the body within the next hour or so."

The search effort included DNR Law Enforcement Division rangers, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office and Fire Department, Dawson County's dive team and divers from Cherokee County. Hall County Sheriff's Office dive team members also helped with the dive.

The death in Amicalola River was the state's only drowning over the holiday weekend.

Two other deaths were considered caused by boating incidents. A 23-year-old Atlanta man died after jumping off a boat in Lake Allatoona, and a 61-year-old Augusta man died while kayaking in the Savannah River near Augusta.

Staff Writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.