WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County deputies said they recovered the bodies of two missing boaters from Lake Eloise on Monday afternoon.
On Saturday afternoon, Orlando Ortiz and Jeffrey Marrero disappeared after trying to help Ortiz’s girlfriend, Velcky Velasquez, as she struggled with their rental boat’s anchor, which was not tied to the vessel before she jumped into the lake.
While Velasquez survived, she said she last saw the two men struggling to stay afloat as their boat floated away, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.
Deputies arrived to rescue Velasquez after one of Marrero’s two children, who remained on the boat, called 911. The children were saved from the boat soon after Velasquez was saved.
“The 10-year-old is, in essence, responsible for us saving the one lady,” Judd said Sunday.
Monday, the Polk County Sheriff’s said “four PCSO watercraft and sonar equipment, two FWC watercraft and sonar equipment, and a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office watercraft and their underwater drone” were deployed to search for the men.
Sheriff Judd said they recovered Marrero’s body around 1:30 p.m. Ortiz’s body was recovered at 3:40 p.m.
The sheriff said the men were found 300-400 yards from the shore at the bottom of the lake using FWC’s sonar equipment.
Lake Eloise is now reopened.