The body of Cody Allen Hayes, 22, of Frostproof, Florida, is scheduled to undergo an autopsy, although authorities believe the death to Hayes was caused by an accidental drowning. Hayes was canoeing on Lake Starr with his friend, 19-year-old Michael Paul Duey. The sheriff’s office dive team was called to the lake after the canoe tipped over. Duey told officials that he was able to swim to shore, but Hayes had difficulty swimming in the cold water. Rescue divers found Hayes’ body shortly after they were initially called to the lake. Neither Hayes nor Duey were wearing life vests. If you would like to read more on this story please see Young Florida man dies in Central Florida Lake.
The death of this young man is tragedy for his family and community. No matter one’s age or ability to swim, life vests should alway be worn while participating in water-related activities, this includes relaxed environments like canoeing. Unexpected events and circumstances can occur that can inhibit a person’s ability to swim to safety. Water at cold temperatures has the capability of freezing a person’s body to a paralytic state, thus, making it difficult for those to swim. Please remember to always wear a life vest regardless of age or experience in swimming.