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UPDATE: DNR investigating Jackson Lake boat explosion fatality
Jackson Lake

COVINGTON, Ga. - The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division is investigating a boating incident that took place Sunday afternoon on Jackson Lake in Newton County. 

"Essentially what happened was a gentleman was working on his boat on Jackson Lake and we’re not sure what happened but there was an explosion," DNR LED Public Affairs Officer Mark McKinnon told The Covington News. 

McKinnon said gas fumes can build up and any kind of spark can ignite the fumes causing a fire or explosion. 

The gentleman has been identified by Newton County Coroner Tommy Davis as John Cecil Ashmead, 67, of Monroe. 

McKinnon said Ashmead was ejected from the boat into the water and pulled out pretty quickly. Other boaters and lake-goers were able to perform CPR on scene before he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

"It is a terrible situation, you know, we try to let people know whenever you're working on a boat to keep that hull area as ventilated as you can," McKinnon said adding that gas fumes can build up on personal watercraft as well. "We've had several instances of boat explosions this year, but this is the only one to my knowledge resulting in a fatality."

While the boat explosion happened within the Newton County portion of Jackson Lake, McKinnon said the DNR LED is mandated by law to investigate any boating incident within the state. The investigation usually takes about six weeks to complete. 


Videos submitted to The Covington News by lake residents.

Jackson Lake Boat Fire

Jackson Lake Boat Fire