ORLANDO, Fla. - Police are still investigating if alcohol could have been involved in the drowning of a 21-year-old man who got into a canoe with six other people and ventured onto an Orlando lake in pitch-black darkness.
Police said the canoe capsized when someone shifted and flipped it over. Six of the boaters knew how to swim and made it safely to shore.
Danny Diaz, the seventh boater, did not. Someone tried to help Diaz to shore, but he panicked and sank, authorities said.
Orlando Fire-Rescue divers pulled Diaz' body out of Rock Lake about 5 a.m. Friday, 1,500 feet from shore, investigators said.
Laura Hughart, a neighbor, said she heard a girl scream.
Once divers brought Diaz to shore, emergency workers tried to resuscitate him as he was loaded into an ambulance, but the Winter Garden man was later pronounced dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center, investigators said.
Neighbors told Eyewitness News that the group got into a canoe on one side of Rock Lake and headed to Parliament House, a nightclub and resort, located on the opposite side of the lake.
They arrived only to find the resort was closed. The group sat on the resort's beach for a while before deciding to paddle back.
Rescuers said the boaters didn't have any lights and weren't wearing lifejackets. The canoe can only seat three people comfortably.
"That's just crazy in the first place. No wonder they tipped," Hughart said.
"If you have a boat, get familiar with it. Boater safety is of the utmost importance here in Florida -- so many bodies of water we have," Orlando police spokesman Vincent Ogburn said.
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