NAPLES — Robert Anzualda was just days from starting his sophomore year at Immokalee Senior High School.
The 15-year-old died Saturday night after rescuers pulled him from the waters off Sanibel Island where he was swimming.
According to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office incident report, Robert had been swimming with family and friends on Saturday afternoon near the causeway’s “C” span before strong currents pulled the boy underneath the waters of San Carlos Bay.
News of Robert’s death made what was supposed to be a happy start for the new school year bittersweet, said Immokalee High Principal Linda Salazar, who fondly recalled the teen as being a very humorous student.
“If he was in your class, he’d do something to make the kids laugh,” she said.
Salazar said the school’s administration sent out an e-mail on Sunday night, letting teachers know of Robert’s death and asking them to be especially sensitive with the sophomore class, who would have known him best.
In addition, Salazar said arrangements were made for the district’s Crisis Team to be at the school Monday for any staff member or student needing assistance.
The school’s Freshman Academy teachers were also available at lunch to talk to the sophomores who wanted to share a memory or just talk.
The Cape Coral Daily Breeze reported that Lee County Deputy Jeff Barrack arrived at the scene around 3 p.m., and found Robert at the water’s edge not breathing and unresponsive. He immediately began performing CPR. The report said Robert responded “by expelling water from his mouth and attempting to breathe.”
Barrack continued CPR on Robert before being joined by Lee Sheriff’s Office Marine Units, the Daily Breeze reported.
“During CPR, Robert’s breathing was labored and had a faint pulse,” Barrack’s report stated, noting that Lee County EMS arrived and took over medical treatment.
Lee County EMS took Robert to HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers.
He died several hours later at the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, according to Lee Memorial Health Systems spokeswoman Karen Krieger.
The Cape Coral Daily Breeze contributed to this report.