NEW HAMBURG -- The death of a 13-year-old Scott County boy, who fell into a pond trying to retrieve a paddle, has been ruled accidental, authorities said Monday.
Brandon Sandvos, 13, of New Hamburg, drowned in water roughly 9 feet deep after apparently jumping from a homemade raft about 3:20 p.m. Sunday at a neighbor's farm pond located off County Highway 211, according to the Missouri State Water Patrol.
His body was found about four hours later about 30 yards from shore, officials said.
"A big contributing factor (to Sandvos' death) was the temperature of the water was very cold -- in the 50s," said Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter.
No foul play is suspected, and as cold as the water was, it would have been a shock to anyone's system no matter how well of a swimmer, Walter said.
"The water was even taking a toll on the experienced divers," Walter said.
According to reports Sandvos was the only person on the raft when he fell in, and a friend was located on the bank, Walter said. Apparently, when Sandvos fell into the water, he resurfaced and went under the water again. The witness then ran to a neighbor's house to call for help, Walter explained.
In addition to the Scott County Sheriff's Department, three different search and rescue dogs, NBC Fire and Rescue, North Scott County Ambulance, Scott County Search and Rescue, City of Cape Girardeau dive team and the Sikeston Department of Public Safety assisted in the recovery effort.
"He was a 13-year-old on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and it was the last thing you would expect to happen," Walter said. "It's a tragedy."
Turn to Page 5 for Sandvos' obituary.