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Woman rescues son-in-law from near-drowning in Walsingham Lake

LARGO — A man came close to drowning Saturday morning and was rescued by his mother-in-law, after he tried to retrieve a dog that ran into Lake Walsingham in Largo, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

It happened just after 10 a.m. near a shelter in Walsingham Park, at 12615 102nd Ave N.

Mark Payne, 33, and his wife, Ashley, 30, were preparing to take family photographs with his mother-in-law, Roberta Sharman, 48, and the family dog, Sheriff's officials said. The dog was on a leash, but pulled away and ran into the lake.

Payne dove into the lake to try to get the dog, but started struggling to swim, officials said. He then went underwater.

Emergency personnel were called as Sharman dove into the lake. She rescued Payne, who was unconscious, hauling him back to shore, Sheriff's officials said.

Paramedics from Seminole Fire Rescue arrived and treated Payne. He was taken by ambulance to Largo Regional Medical Center, Sheriff's officials said, and was hospitalized in life-threatening condition.

The paramedics went into the lake and got the dog.

The incident was being investigated as an accident.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com. Follow @TimesDan.

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