Two teens rescued from the rocks Tuesday evening at High Falls State Park are getting scolded on social media and prompting stern warnings about the dangers of the river.
Monroe County's Emergency Management Agency director Matt Perry is pleading with the public to heed safety advisories at High Falls Park and stay out of the water.
"If you don't obey the safety signs, you're going to end up having to get rescued by us, or worse, put in a body bag," Perry told reporters after Tuesday's rescue.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Perry posted a photograph on Facebook of the pair from Butts County who were trapped on the rocks.
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In the post, Perry appealed for "kind thoughts and prayers" after getting a call about two people stranded on the rocks in the swift moving Towaliga River, which joins the Ocmulgee River downstream.
One man wrote on the page: "I'm praying for the rescuers. It's hard to worry about the fools on the rocks. I hope they survive only because they may have family who care about them."
Perry called in the swift water rescue experts from the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, who braved the rushing currents to pull the male and female to safety.
Facebook commenters noted the numerous signs warning against getting in the river or climbing on the slippery rocks.
Many called for the teens to be charged and fined for putting rescuers in danger.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division is investigating the incident, but no decision has been made about filing charges, public affairs officer Mark McKinnon told The Telegraph Wednesday afternoon.
"Typically in some cases like that you could get some sort of trespassing charge, but I'm not sure what they're looking at," McKinnon said.
A woman on Facebook claiming to be the teens' mother said she was upset with her children but chided people to keep their "ugly comments" to themselves.
The young man himself also berated posters who wanted the stranded bathers to cover the cost of the rescue operation.
Once the pair were safe, Perry also stressed the need for people to heed the warnings.
"We're getting tired of pulling folks off the river. We're getting tired of pulling folks off the falls," Perry told the media at the scene.
Last fall, 12-year-old Christian Burdette died when he and his brother, James, slipped and fell while walking along the peak of the park's highest waterfall.
James Burdette had to be rescued by helicopter.
At the start of the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, a 38-year-old Savannah woman fell down the falls and died.
Danielle Flanagan slipped while having her picture taken at the top of the falls while she was visiting the park with her husband and 4-year-old child.
Tuesday night's rescue took about two hours with firefighters taking the necessary safety precautions.
Perry said the state park has numerous warning signs.
"We want folks to just pay attention to us. Quit it. Stay off the River!" Perry said.
Days of rain have increased the dangers, and he implored the public to let the currents die down.
He stressed that the trained rescuers are risking their lives on each call.
"These guys have families, too," Perry said. "If you're going to be dumb enough to walk out there, there's a lot more at stake than your ignorance."