A 21-year-old man drowned late Sunday after jumping in the water to rescue a friend in a Bluffton neighborhood pond.
The body of Benito Luz-Gonzalez, a native of Mexico residing in Hardeeville, was pulled from a 10-acre pond behind a home on Solomon Lane by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Dive Team at about 10 p.m., Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said.
Witnesses sayLuz-Gonzalez was sitting on the bank Sunday when he spotted three men in a boat taking on water.
The boaters later told deputies that they didn't realize the vessel had a hole in the bottom when they took it out. As the boat started to sink, the men jumped into the pond to escape.
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One of the men, a 21-year-old friend of Luz-Gonzalez, can't swim and shouted for help. Luz-Gonzalez jumped in to rescue him, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office news release.
The three boaters made it safely to shore, but Luz-Gonzalez did not.
The men say he went under the surface while trying to help them and wasn't seen again.
The Sheriff's Office Dive Team recovered his body after an hour-long search of the pond in the darkness.
Foul play isn't suspected in Luz-Gonzalez's drowning, but alcohol is believed to have played a role, according to the Sheriff's Office, which continues to investigate while awaiting an autopsy.
Allen said the autopsy is being performed at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.