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Authorities continued their search for a missing fisherman on Wednesday, Feb. 13. (click for larger version)
February 15, 2013FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The multi-agency search for a 47-year-old missing fisherman has been suspended as of Feb. 15 on Lake Lanier.
Patrol of the lake for George "Marty" Counts will continue near Little Ridge Park, but searches involving sonar scans, dive teams and helicopters have ended.
Counts has been missing since 10 p.m. Feb. 11.
The fisherman's 15-foot boat was seen circling near Little Ridge Park in eastern Forsyth County.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources rangers found the unoccupied boat out of gas and with a cellphone inside, said Sgt. Greg Colson, with DNR.
A fishing rod was floating nearby, Colson said. It's believed Counts went overboard.
The search efforts were kicked off last Tuesday morning, with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, Forsyth County Fire Department, Hall County divers and Dawson County K9 search and rescue.
"We've been out here ever since," Colson said on Feb. 14. "We'll be back again tomorrow if we have to, hopefully we will have some luck this afternoon."
Helicopters performed surface searches and shoreline searches and had not seen anything, said Colson.
Sonar scans from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Forsyth County Fire Department and Hall County were also performed, but still no signs of the experienced fisherman.
Divers have been looking at areas the sonar operators have requested additional resources, said Colson.
Some of the challenges had been the diving in cold weather, rough currents and rain.
"Just having guys on the lake in the cold can be tiring," Colson said. "Asking divers to dive in 40 degree water is asking them a lot."
This is not the first search operation on Lake Lanier this year. On Jan. 6, a 54-year-old Hoschton man drowned near Aqualand Marina in south Hall County.
Go to www.forsythherald.com for the latest on this developing story.