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Marine unit finds body of missing boater in Pasco County lake

Posted: 3:58 PM, Oct 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-01 22:00:46Z

HOLIDAY, Fla. — The search is over for a Pasco County man who went underwater while boating with friends.

Just after 3 p.m. Monday, the Pasco Sheriff's Office Marine Unit pulled the body out of Lake Conley.

The deceased has been identified as Harry Sam, Jr., 39.

Estanis Fernandez is still shaken because of what he saw Sunday.

“I can’t sleep. I can’t work today. I cried all night,” he said.

Fernandez says one second he saw a man swimming, then he was gone.

“No way. I’d never jump in that water. No way.”

Fernandez says he’s seen several alligators in Lake Conley, some eight feet long.

And the way the man went under, he’s convinced, a gator grabbed him and pulled him down.

“The head was right there in the water, and then it went down.”

For much of the day Monday, a Sheriff’s Office dive team searched Lake Conley in Holiday.

Other deputies looked from above in the helicopter.

Then finally Monday afternoon, they found the 39-year-old man.

“It’s scary. I want to jump in the water, but my wife told me, and my friend said, no don’t jump in the water. But I feel bad," said Fernandez.

The Sheriff's Office says Sam fell off the boat and foul play is not suspected.

They acknowledge the lake is full of alligators, but they say the body did not have signs of trauma.

Investigators say they won't know the cause of death until the medical examiner finishes an autopsy.