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Boy, 3, drowns after kayak capsizes with four aboard in Manatee County

PALMETTO — A 3-year-old boy drowned Saturday after a kayak capsized near Snead Island in Manatee County, state officials said.

A kayak with two adults and two kids on board overturned as they were heading back to shore, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Authorities were sent to the scene at about 8:30 p.m. and rescued kayak operators Emmanuel Herbert, 29, and Esteban Hernandez, 34, and passenger Isaj Jimenez, 8. But a 3-year-old, Caleb Nopal, was missing. All four are from Bradenton.

About three hours later, members of St. Petersburg's Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team found Caleb's body in the water, state officials said.

Investigators are treating the incident as a boating accident. None of those involved was wearing a life jacket.

The wildlife commission reminds those enjoying the water to wear life jackets and know where their safety equipment is at all times. Boaters should also pay attention to the weather and to what's going on around the boat, the agency said. Boaters should also never operate their boats while impaired, or overload them.

Contact Kathryn Varn at kvarn@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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