UPDATE: Drowning victims identified after boating accident on Ch - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Drowning victims identified after boating accident on Chickamauga Lake

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SODDY DAISY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Friends of the drowning victims said they are grieving their sudden death, but drawing strength through their faith in God. 

It was heartbreaking news for Mary Morgan to wake up to. Two of her closest church friends died. “We're going to miss them. We feel blessed to have had them for years, but will miss them,” said Morgan.  

The TWRA said 53 year old, Donna Berger and 74 year old, Randy Freeney died while boating on the Chickamauga Lake. It is painful losses for the Lake Drive Baptist Church. “The most giving people. They are such giving people. Such involved in the church you couldn't meet more kind hearted people,” said one church goer.

Friends say these two were crucial members of the church. Always offering their time and love to anyone who needed it. “Randy was a smart man, a wise man, Also an amazing singer. He had a love for his church like not many people can.”

“Donna was such a sweet loving person. Always giving out hugs, everybody who walked up to her, she'd hug and say I love you,” said Morgan.

Morgan says she will miss seeing her friend’s smiling faces on Sunday mornings. “Do anything that needed to be done around the church, he was there to help do it. We're going to really miss him.”

While loved ones are mourning the tragedy on the lake, they’re also leaning on their faith and each other for strength. They believe it was their time to be called home by God. “My husband and I were petrified, what do you say? How do you console yourself but how do you console a church community that lost two crucial members of the family.”

Neither Berger or Feeney were wearing a floatation device, and alcohol was not involved. Funeral arrangements are pending. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Two fatalities occurred on Chickamauga Lake last evening. The Soddy Daisy Fire Department, Hamilton County Fire Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded to a 911 call around 7:25 p.m. According to the TWRA 53-year old, Donna Berger of Soddy Daisy, along with 74 year old Randy Freeney, also of Soddy Daisy, both died at the scene.

The victims were part of a larger group containing family members of both the deceased, were boating on Chickamauga Lake, near Sale Creek. The TWRA said the group anchored to enjoy some time swimming. When one of the younger members in their party needed assistance, Berger entered the water to help. Berger then struggled, leading Freeney to enter the water to assist her. Freeney also struggled.

Seeing the difficulty from shore, residents of Lee Pike called 911 and entered the water with life vests to try and assist. Both Berger and Freeney were brought to shore.Family members were notified at the scene. Neither victim was wearing a personal flotation device. Alcohol was not involved. 


PREVIOUS STORY: A boating accident on Chickamauga Lake turned deadly this evening.

The call came in from the 3600 block of Lee Pike around 7:50 p.m.

TWRA spokeswoman Mime Barnes tells Channel 3, two adults drowned after being involved in a boating accident.

Barnes says details of the accident are unknown at this time; however, she says only one boat was involved, along with an inner tube.

Investigators say the two victims were not wearing life jackets.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, Barnes says.

The names of the victims have not been released.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is leading the investigation.

Channel 3 is working to learn more.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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