Teen drowns after jumping off pontoon boat into California lake

A 16-year-old boy drowned at a California lake after jumping off a boat, authorities said.

Someone called authorities around 12:40 p.m. Sunday because the boy had jumped off a pontoon boat into Shaver Lake, about 55 miles northeast of Fresno, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

The boy, who authorities identified as Alejandro Araujo. He was a junior at Orosi High School, they said in a news release.

Authorities said he was wearing a U.S. Coast Guard Type Two life jacket. He placed it around his neck but did not clip it around his body, so it slipped off when he jumped into the 65 degree water.

Someone in the group jumped into the water to look for Alejandro, but to no avail.

Boating deputies were already in the area patrolling and showed up at the scene, located near the island at Camp Chawanakee. They did not find the boy immediately either.

Members of the sheriff’s office’s dive unit were called and helped with the search. They recovered the Alejandro's body at 1:50 p.m. 15 feet below the water’s surface.

The investigation is ongoing, authorities said. Deputies are interviewing witnesses to get more information.

Orosi High School also issued a statement and confirmed Alejandro's death.

"We encourage you to take a moment to talk with your child about their feelings and memories of their classmate and friend," the school wrote to families. "Listening to their concerns and providing a safe space for them to express their emotions can be helpful in their healing process."

‘His body might have gone into shock’

In light of the teenager’s drowning, the sheriff’s office released a video where Deputy Erica Covarrubias went over tips for water safety.

Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket that fits properly, Covarrubias said in the video, speaking Spanish. She also said to stay out of the water if you are not an experienced swimmer.

Parents should always supervise their children in the water and it is best to avoid drinking alcohol and swimming. Alcohol wears swimmers out faster than normal, leading to dangerous situations, Covarrubias said.

She added that there may be debris in the water, so watch out for that, as well as mud at the bottom of lakes and rivers that could cause one to sink or get stuck.

Swimmers can use their feet to feel drop points in the water, she said, because river and lake bottoms can quickly go from shallow to deep.

Water temperature is also a factor swimmers should take into account, Covarrubias said. The water temperature is cold and the current is often stronger than it appears.

Though the temperature at Shaver Lake reached the lower-90s on Sunday, the water temperature was about 65 degrees when Alejandro jumped in, deputies said.

A social media user also mentioned water temperature and how it can be dangerous for swimmers.

“The water is extremely cold and if he was in the sun very long, his body might have gone into shock,” wrote one Facebook user.

Another community member agreed.

“My dad was a diver, taught us to never jump into cold water for chance of that happening (unless we’d already submerged several times),” the person wrote.

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at sdmartin@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boy's body recovered 15 feet below surface in California's Shaver Lake