A 16-year-old Gulf High School student drowned on Memorial Day at Rogers Park, a public beach on the Weeki Wachee River in Spring Hill.
Jacob P. Sayers was visiting Rogers Park with family and friends Monday, according to a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office press release, and was in and out of the water throughout the day.
Sayers was throwing a ball with family members at the park when the ball went into the water, according to the release. He went to retrieve the ball, ducked under the water and resurfaced on a sandbar where he appeared to be catching his breath. The Sheriff’s Office report said he reentered the water a second time still trying to retrieve the ball. He went under the water again and did not resurface.
Sayers was found about 100 yards down the river, unconscious. Residents on Circle Drive pulled him to shore where a bystander performed CPR until Hernando County Fire Rescue arrived. He was taken to Oak Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the report said.
The report said deputies were assigned to the area to look for illegal activity, such as bridge jumping. According to a witness account, first responders initially believed that Sayers was involved in bridge jumping, but that wasn’t the case.
Mandy Eufour, a friend of the family, said Sayers had hopes to play college football or enter military service after high school.
“Anytime there was a football or a basketball, he would go run and get it. That’s just the type of kid that he was,” Eufour said.