Deputies: Drowning off Gandy Beach appears accidental

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A 23-year-old Tampa man drowned in the water off Gandy Beach on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies investigating the incident said it appeared to be an accident, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office media release said.

Lino Gomez and his wife, Angela Perez, 20, were in the water on an inflatable float just south of Gandy Beach in unincorporated St. Petersburg, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

The tidal current pushed the float Gomez and Perez were riding into a deep channel that paralleled the beach.

As they were trying to paddle back to the beach, Gomez fell off the float into the water.

Perez tried to help her husband back onto the float, but she also fell into the water, the Pinellas sheriff's release said.

Perez was able to grab onto the float, but she lost sight of Gomez, who was being swept out with the current.

An unidentified boater found Gomez floating face down in the water and unresponsive.

The boater brought Gomez to the shore, where a second boater, Melissa Shaffer, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived.

Gomez was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died shortly after 2:00 a.m. Sunday.

Neither Gomez or Perez knew how to swim, the release said.

The investigation remains open.

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