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Man Faces Near Drowning After Attempting to Rescue Family Dog from Lake at Walsingham Park

Deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a near drowning after a man swam into a lake at Walsingham Park to retrieve a dog.

The incident occurred at about 10:13 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Walsingham Park located at 12615 102nd Avenue North.

According to deputies, they were called to the park for a report of a man and a dog struggling to swim in the water.

Deputies say the victim 33 year-old Mark Payne, his wife 30 year-old Ashley Payne, and his mother-in-law 48 year-old Roberta Sharman, were behind shelter #1 at Walsingham Park. They were with their dog getting ready to take family photographs.

Mark’s dog was on a leash but he pulled away from Mark and ran into the lake. Mark entered the lake to retrieve the family dog. For an unknown reason, Mark was struggling to swim and he went underwater.

Deputies say Roberta Sharman went into the lake and rescued Mark who was unconscious. Sharman brought Mark back to shore. Steve Davis also assisted in bringing Mark to the shoreline.

Paramedics from the City of Seminole Fire Rescue Department responded and treated Mark at the scene. Mark had a pulse when paramedics transported him to Largo Medical Center. Deputies say he is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

Good Samaritans on boat help bring dog back to the shore

City of Seminole firefighters Matt Szukics and Seth Cromer went into the lake and retrieved the family dog with the assistance of two Good Samaritan boaters.

The dog was uninjured.

Deputies say the incident appears accidental in nature.

The investigation continues. 

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