Sarasota Drowning Lake

18-Year-Old Man Drowns After Jumping From A Paddleboat At Nathan Benderson Park

SARASOTA, FL. – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is currently leading a death investigation at Nathan Benderson Park.

Deputies responded with the Sarasota County Fire Department to 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle in Sarasota for a marine rescue early Friday morning around 4:30 a.m.

When units arrived, they learned two individuals took a paddleboat into the middle of the lake and jumped into the water when the boat began to malfunction.

One subject was able to make it back to shore but called 911 when he noticed his friend was having trouble swimming.

Members of the Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force (S.U.R.F.) responded to the scene along with members of the sheriff’s office Marine Unit.

Just after 11:00 a.m., deputies recovered a deceased male in the north end of the lake. The man was later identified as 18-year-old Jalen Smith of Sarasota.

Based on initial information, there is no indication the incident is anything other than accidental, however the investigation is active and ongoing.

“As always, an official cause of death will be determined and released by the Medical Examiner’s Office,” said Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

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