Authorities were searching Sunday for two people aboard a boat who were missing and who allegedly drowned in an accident in a central Florida lake near Legoland.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told a news conference that two men jumped into Lake Eloise to save a third member of their group, a woman. They distanced themselves from the boat and have not been heard from since Saturday afternoon.
The third person — Velcky Velazques, 38 — was rescued by police officers who responded to the scene after a 10-year-old girl on the boat called 911. That girl along with another 8-year-old girl followed on the boat drifted until they were rescued by police officers who seized a fisherman’s boat, Judd said.
The lake, next to the Legoland theme park in Winter Haven, was experiencing rough water Saturday with winds of 20 mph (32 kph), Judd said. He added that the situation was made worse by the inexperience of the boaters, who had chartered the boat for the day.
The problems began when the Velazques jumped into the water with an anchor, the police chief said.
“She’s very inexperienced and she thought you had to jump in the water, set the anchor and tie it to the boat,” Judd said.
The missing men were identified as Orlando Ortiz, 32, and Velazques’ boyfriend, and Jeffrey Marrero, 34, and father of the two little girls. Judd said the search will continue with sonar and drones until they are found.
“We will not allow loved ones to stay in the lake. We will find them, ”she emphasized.
Winter Haven is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Tampa. Legoland issued a statement on Saturday saying the incident “has no connection to us” but that its hotel terrace is being used as a police command center.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this difficult time,” the statement read.
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