The Prince family (clockwise from top left): Griffin, Ryan, Jake and father Michael
BUFORD, Ga. -- The body of 13-year-old Griffin Prince was recovered from Lake Lanier by a dive team Wednesday evening.
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Mark Padgett of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the teen's body was recovered at around 6 p.m. in about 113 feet of water in the Shoal Creek area of the lake.
It was the ninth day of the search for Griffin's body.
Early Wednesday, divers also discovered the wreckage of the Prince family's
pontoon tangled in tree branches at the bottom of Lake Lanier, according
to the DNR.
Paul Bennett, a 44-year-old hair salon owner, was charged with Boating Under the Influence after DNR officials say he slammed into the pontoon on June 18.
"The first priority was closure for the family," DNR Maj. Stephen Adams said in a statement after Griffin's body was recovered. "Now e can focus solely on the boating incident investigation."
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal released a statement Thursday morning, praising crews' efforts to recover Griffin's body.
"I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all of those who have worked around the clock in response to this tragedy," Deal said in the statement. "The members of state, local and federal law enforcement, as well as the volunteers, involved in the recovery of Griffin Prince proved their dedication to not only their jobs, but also to the good of mankind. For this I am thankful."
Deal also addressed the Prince family in his statement, saying, "Sandra and I are saddened by these senseless deaths. Having been blessed with four children of our own, we cannot imagine what it means to lose two children. To the Prince family, we express our deepest sympathy and offer our prayers during this most difficult time."
The Prince family posted a Facebook message about Griffin's recovery:
All of our prayers have been answered. Yes, they did find our dear Griffin.
We would like to thank all the wonderful men and women who worked non-stop to find him. We know you were all as emotionally invested in the recovery effort as we have been. When we met with you this morning at the lake, we had a peaceful, good feeling that today would be the day.
-Georgia Department of Natural Resources
-Hall County Sheriff's Department Dive Team
-Cobb County Police Dive Team
-Forsyth County Fire Department Geological Information Services
-Georgia State Patrol
-Army Corps of Engineers
-Hall County Fire Department Marine Units
-FBI Dive Team
-Hall County Sheriff's Department Support Staff
-Suwanee City Police Department
-FEMA Dogs & their Handlers
-Unaffiliated Volunteers who offered their services
-All the people and restaurants who brought food to the site to support and feed the staff
The last couple of hours have been a mixture of emotions: relief, gratitude, sadness, joy. Thank you all for your prayers, service, time and resources. We can never thank you enough.
Michael, Tara and Ryan