De­spite broth­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ence, state park turns deadly

One boy drowns, an­other rescued at High Falls wa­ter­fall.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - METRO - By Steve Burns steve.burns@ajc.com

James and Chris­tian Bur­dette live less than a mile from High Falls State Park and know the area.

The broth­ers, who were out of school for fall break this week, said cross­ing the park’s wa­ter­fall was “some­thing they claimed they had done sev­eral times be­fore,” Mon­roe County sher­iff ’s Sgt. Law­son Bittick said.

But there are signs at the park warn­ing peo­ple to stay off the rocks, signs that are of­ten dis­re­garded, as the Ma­con Tele­graph news­pa­per re­ported.

When the broth­ers walked across the peak of the park’s tallest wa­ter­fall Tues­day, it turned into dis­as­ter.

Af­ter falling about 12 feet, Chris­tian Bur­dette, 12, drowned, and James, 17, had to be rescued by he­li­copter, ac­cord­ing to Mon­roe County Emer­gency Ser­vices.

Hik­ers who orig­i­nally stopped to record a short video of the boys later heard screams and called 911, the Tele­graph re­ported.

When crews ar­rived, they saw James stand­ing on a rock in a shal­low area.

“It be­came ob­vi­ous im­me­di­ately that this was not go­ing to be an or­di­nary res­cue,” said Matthew Perry with Mon­roe County Emer­gency Ser­vices, who added that parts of the wa­ter were very deep.

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