Video: Faint screams lead Fla. deputies to father and daughter treading water

The father and daughter were treading water for about an hour before being located with spotlights

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

THONOTOSASSA, Fla. — A father and his 13-year-old daughter were left stranded in a dark Florida lake when their jet ski sank, and video shows rescuers found them by following faint screams.

Christopher Snow, 31, and his daughter, Alexis Snow, tread water for about an hour before being located with spotlights, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened on Saturday, April 15, in Lake Thonotosassa, a 946-acre lake about 14 miles northeast of Tampa.

Video shared by the sheriff’s office shows the father and daughter were virtually invisible on the lake when someone on the rescue boat heard someone screaming “help.”

“Oh my God. I hear them. I hear them,” one searcher says in the video. “We’re coming. Oh my heart. I’m going to cry.”

The two were exhausted but uninjured when pulled from the water. However, Christopher Snow appeared to be too weak to lift himself into the boat.

The video concludes with Christopher Snow holding his shaken daughter, attempting to comfort her as they returned to shore.

Investigators say the search began about 8 p.m. when Carolyn Joyce, Christopher Snow’s girlfriend, reported the two were overdue and not answering calls. The father and daughter left on the jet ski just before 7 p.m., officials said.

“A local man and his family offered to take Deputy (Kevin) Reich out on their boat to search while waiting for assistance from marine and aviation units,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“Approximately 40 minutes after meeting with Joyce, Deputy Reich was able to locate the missing boaters.”

Christopher Snow issued a statement noting his struggle in the water was made tougher by a life jacket that didn’t fit properly.

“I want to thank both the boaters that helped and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for being on patrol and noticing something wasn’t right,” Snow said.

©2023 The Charlotte Observer.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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