The DeKalb County Medical Examiner's office will perform an autopsy on Griffin Prince, 13. The Buford teen's body was recovered 113 feet below Lake Lanier's surface Wednesday night following a nine-day search.
Griffin fell overboard when a fishing boat collided with the boat he was riding in with his family and three other families. Griffin's 9-year-old brother Jake was also killed.
The FBI dive team's sonar equipment detected debris from the crash Wednesday. The Hall County Sheriff's Office divers made the recovery dive at 6 p.m. Wednesday based on that information.
The Prince family released a statement on a Facebook memorial page dedicated to Griffin and Jake.
All of our prayers have been answered. Yes, they did find our dear Griffin.
We would like to thank all the wonderful men and women who worked non-stop to find him. We know you were all as emotionally invested in the recovery effort as we have been. When we met with you this morning at the lake, we had a peaceful, good feeling that today would be the day.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources Hall County Sheriff's Department Dive Team Cobb County Police Dive Team Forsyth County Fire Department Geological Information Services Georgia State Patrol Army Corps of Engineers Hall County Fire Department Marine Units FBI Dive Team Hall County Sheriff's Department Support Staff Suwanee City Police Department FEMA Dogs & their Handlers Unaffiliated Volunteers who offered their services All the people and restaurants who brought food to the site to support and feed the staff
The last couple of hours have been a mixture of emotions: relief, gratitude, sadness, joy. Thank you all for your prayers, service, time and resources. We can never thank you enough.
Michael, Tara and Ryan
Now that Griffin's body has been found, the Wildlife Resources Division's Critical Incident Reconstruction Team and the Hall County District Attorney's Office can begin investigating the accident.
"The first priority was closure for the family," DNR Maj. Stephen Adams said. "Now we can focus solely on the boating incident investigation."
Paul Bennett, 44, was charged with boating under the influence after authorities said he was driving the fishing boat that struck the pontoon. The DA said he will meet with DNR investigators mid-July to determine if further charges will be filed.
Upon the recovery of Griffin's body from Lake Lanier, Gov. Nathan Deal praised the heroic efforts of law enforcement officials involved and declared he'll work to lower Georgia's legal blood alcohol levels for boating and hunting.
"I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all of those who have worked around the clock in response to this tragedy. The members of state, local and federal law enforcement, as well as the volunteers, involved in the recovery of Griffin Prince proved their dedication to not only their jobs, but also to the good of mankind. For this I am thankful.
"Sandra and I are saddened by these senseless deaths. Having been blessed with four children of our own, we cannot imagine what it means to lose two children. To the Prince family, we express our deepest sympathy and offer our prayers during this most difficult time.
"The current blood alcohol limit of .10 for boating and hunting is far too high. As a state, we need to have one level across the board. When the General Assembly convenes in January, I will work with the House and Senate to pass legislation that lowers the legal limit to .08 for boating and hunting – in line with the legal limit for driving a vehicle. As governor it is my priority to protect Georgians to the best of my ability and enforce the law. Far too many tragedies have occurred as a result of boating under the influence, and we must take the necessary steps to keep people safe.
"Lastly, with the Fourth of July right around the corner, I ask that boaters take this tragedy into serious consideration while celebrating during the holiday. Safety must be a priority at all times. I assure you that state and local officers will work cooperatively to arrest violators of boating laws. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday signed an agreement with Gwinnett County to work jointly on enforcement. That's an example of how I want this to work."
If you would like to help the Prince family, donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank in Griffin and Jake Prince's name.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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