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FWC cites weather in Cape man’s apparent drowning

By Staff | Jun 28, 2012

Authorities have released the names of the others present when a Cape Coral man apparently drown Tuesday after his canoe overturned.

At about 2:15 p.m., Jonathon A. Burke, 33, was canoeing on Lake Dorr in Altoona with his girlfriend, Theresa L. Cole, 32, also of the Cape, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Their five children, ranging in age from 4 to 11, were also present.

When a squall from Tropical Storm Debby moved into the area, the couple decided to head back to shore. Cole was having a hard time getting her canoe back to shore as the wind picked up, and she began to drift away from it.

Burke took his passengers to shore, then went back to help Cole.

According to the report, Burke was about 200 yards from Cole when his canoe overturned. Cole did not see him surface and was rescued by a good samaritan. Burke’s body was later found floating facedown in the water.

There were no obvious signs of trauma.

He was not wearing a life jacket, according to officials.

“It looks like a case of bad weather contributing to an accident,” FWC spokeswoman Joy Hill said Thursday. “It looks like it might be a drowning, but we won’t know for certain until we get the medical examiner’s report.”

The final report will like take a couple of weeks to complete.

“It’s still under investigation,” she said.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Lake County Sheriffs Office and the Marion County Sheriffs Office assisted the FWC with the investigation.