Family member identifies teen who died in kayaking incident

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
William Jenkins. Credit: Photo shared with WINK News.

A missing kayaker was found unconscious off the Sanibel Causeway Saturday evening and later died in the hospital.

A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, identified 16-year-old William Jenkins as the kayaker.

Jenkins was diagnosed with epilepsy a few months ago. His family believes he had a seizure and drowned during his outing Saturday. But an official cause of death is unconfirmed.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and United State Coast Guard, received a call about a single vessel boating accident near the Sanibel Causeway. The caller stated that a kayak with one person on board did not return to shore after paddling out a short distance, according to an FWC statement.

A good Samaritan launched a second kayak and located the kayak and found Jenkins, who was unconscious in the water, per the statement. The victim was taken back to shore where civilians immediately started CPR. A coast guard vessel arrived on scene and took over CPR until EMS arrived.

Jenkins was transported to Health Park Hospital where he was pronounced deceased by medical personnel.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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