Florida man drowns at Sabine Lake fishing tournament

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Authorities believe that a seizure caused the drowning death of a 42-year-old Florida man competing in a Sabine Lake fishing tournament this weekend.

At about 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a boater at Sabine Lake reporting a possible drowning incident approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Stutes Island. Deputies responded to the scene with the Jefferson County Marine Division and the Port Arthur Fire Department, assistant Chief Deputy Rod Carroll said in a release.

Upon arrival, authorities learned from witnesses that they were in a group of fishermen participating in a redfish fishing tournament when they noticed one of the boats in their group was unoccupied. The boaters began searching the area and found the missing fisherman, Manuel Perez, floating face down approximately 100 yards from his boat. The boaters recovered Perez from the water and attempted CPR until first responders arrived, but the fisherman had perished.

A native of Punta Gorda, Fla., Perez had a history of seizures, according to the JCSO. Authorities are waiting for autopsy results and the investigation is ongoing.