17-year-old boy drowns in Arkansas lake, officials say

A 17-year-old boy drowned Thursday afternoon while swimming with his friends in a lake at a state park, authorities said.

Cross County Sheriff J.R. Smith said the boy and three friends were swimming past the buoys in Lake Austell at Village Creek State Park when he “panicked and went under.” Deputies were called to the scene about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, after the teen had been under water for about 20 minutes, Smith said.

Smith said authorities searched the lake using sonar but didn’t find the 17-year-old that afternoon. They stopped looking around 6:30 p.m., and began searching again around 8 a.m. Friday. Smith said the teen’s body was found around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The Cross County sheriff’s office did not release the boy’s name. Smith said the teen’s family asked that he not be identified to media.

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