Body of 9-year-old found in Florida lake 72 hours after he fell off pontoon boat and was hit by propeller
PORT ST LUCIE, FLORIDA: The body of a missing 9-year-old boy has been recovered nearly 72 hours after he reportedly fell in a Florida Lake and struck a pontoon boat’s propeller.
The tragedy took place on Saturday, November 26 when the unidentified minor, who is a resident of Port St Lucie, was out enjoying a day of sailing with his two brothers - ages 7 and 12, and his father on Lake Annie. The father was checking his pontoon boat’s engine when the boy fell off the front of the boat and was hit by its propeller. The dad "immediately jumped into the water" in search of his son while one of his brothers called 911, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a release.
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The sheriff’s office on Tuesday, November 29 announced that the body of the victim was recovered in the same area where he had fallen, Daily Mail reported. Polk County Public Information Officer Brian Bruchey revealed that the boy’s t-shirt was found wrapped in the propeller of the boat. He also noted the victim was not wearing any personal flotation device at the time of the accident. The boy’s body even had signs of fatal injuries and chest intrusions from the propeller. However, the autopsy report is yet to reveal more detail about his tragic death.
Earlier, a search for the boy was immediately launched by investigators. "We've searched nonstop since Saturday afternoon and we've still not recovered this beautiful little boy, but we won't give up," Polk County Sheriff Judd Grady said at the news conference on Monday. "We've been there 24 hours a day, and we'll stay there until we find him. There aren't enough words to explain the angst of even the law enforcement officers, who are doing everything they can to find that little fellow so that we can recover him for the family,"
The Polk County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, Underwater Search and Recovery Team, Aviation Unit and Drone Units, Polk County Fire Rescue, Florida Fish, and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office all assisted in the search efforts on Lake Annie.
Judd called the tragedy 'an unimaginable nightmare' for the boy's family and described him as a ‘sweet little boy’. However, it is still unknown what caused the boy to fall over.
Lake Annie is a public lake located in Dundee in Polk County that is comprised of 407 acres. It is located about 60 miles east of Tampa and 50 miles south of Orlando.