71-year-old Augusta man drowns in canal

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - According to the coroner, a 71-year-old man drowned in a canal early Saturday morning.

George Young was pronounced dead at the scene, said Chief Deputy Coroner, Kenneth Boose.

Boose said the drowning happened right behind the Enterprise Mill on Greene St. in Downtown Augusta.

A witness told deputies that he saw Young push his bicycle to the to of the canal. The witness said once Young reached the top, he tried to pedal and lost control of the bicycle. He fell into the canal. The Augusta County Dive Team responded and retrieved the body of the victim around 8:00 a.m.

Darrell and Geraldine Hodge bike the Augusta Canal regularly, and didn't believe what happened when they first heard about the incident.

"Not only am I surprised, but I really don't believe he fell," says Darrell.

The couple also says it's important to know basic bike safety in case something like this were to happen.

"I say always, you know, have at least one person with you. I wouldn't ride by myself," Geraldine says.

"If you're going to ride around water like this, and you know, it is possible to go off into it, you should know how to swim," Darrell says.

This is the third person to have been found in the canal this year, and the second in just one week.

When asked of they would return to the path, the couple did not hesitate to answer.

"I still feel safe. I'll be out here next week riding, I'll be out here tomorrow riding," Darrell says.

An autopsy is scheduled for next week at the Atlanta GBI Crime Lab.

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