Officials Say Drowned Teen Never Jumped from Bridge, Just Swimming with Family
WEEKI WACHEE – Yesterday, RNRF reported the drowning death of a 16-year-old boy who was found floating a few hundred feet away from Rogers Park in the Weeki Wachee River.
Officials initially believed that the teen jumped from a bridge and never resurfaced, however, witnesses say that was not the case.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has revised its findings in the following media release:
On 05-30-16 at approximately 3:26 p.m. two Hernando County deputies were on proactive patrol in the area of Rogers Park located at 7244 Shoal Line Boulevard in Weeki Wachee.
The deputies were assigned to patrol the area for any illegal activity such as: bridge jumping, illegal use of alcohol in the park or on the river, monitoring the safe operation of kayaks, canoes and motorized vessels, etc., when they observed a male attempting to climb to the top of the bridge to jump off.
Suddenly, the deputies were notified by individuals on the beach at Rogers Park of a teen who had entered the water and had not resurfaced (separate incident – not the same individual deputies observed climbing upon arrival). Witnesses told deputies that the 16-year-old male, identified as Jacob P. Sayers, had been playing in the water for most of the day with several family members.
Initially, it was believed that he (Sayers) had jumped from the bridge due to the fact that at least one witness was motioning toward the bridge and that another individual was climbing the bridge. This led first responders to believe that Sayers jumped from the bridge; however, Sayers did not jump from the bridge. It is unclear how Sayers entered the water.
Sayers and the others were playing with a ball. Sayers went into the water after the ball, swam for a bit, went under the water for a short time then resurfaced onto a small sandbar and appeared to be catching his breath. Sayers then reentered the water continuing his efforts to retrieve the ball; however, he went under the water, not resurfacing until being observed by residents.
While family members and park patrons were searching for Sayers, residents on Circle Drive spotted him floating in the water. Sayers was pulled ashore approximately 100 yards from Rogers Park. Bystanders performed CPR until the arrival of Hernando County Fire/Rescue.
Jacob Sayers was transported to Oak Hill Hospital where he was pronounced deceased by physicians.
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