Missing boy found dead after falling into Florida lake

The body of a 9-year-old boy who went missing during a boat trip in Florida with family members over the weekend has been found, authorities announced Tuesday.

The accident occurred on Saturday in central Florida’s Polk County, which is about an hour east of Tampa and two hours northwest of Port St. Lucie where the boy is from, according to a release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The boy and his brothers were on his father’s pontoon boat on Lake Annie when the boy fell over the front and was hit by the boat’s propeller, the release said. The father immediately jumped into the water to look for his son while one of the other boys called 911 for help.

The boy was not wearing a flotation device when he fell into the water, the release said, but he was not required to wear one by law.

Around 2:39 p.m. on Saturday, deputies and fire rescue personnel arrived at Lake Annie using boats to search for the boy. The sheriff’s office’s marine unit, aviation unit and drone units were also involved in the search, in addition to officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s a tragedy, and an unimaginable nightmare for the family of the boy,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd as the search continued. “We are using extensive resources to find him. We’re working in a large lake with depths up to about 16 feet, with poor visibility, but we’ve been out there 24 hours a day, and will continue to be there until we find him.” 

On Tuesday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced via Twitter that the search ended with the recovery of the boy’s body, adding that his family had been notified.

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