Man dies after swimming incident at Rend Lake

FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A St. Louis area man dies after swimming at the South Sandusky beach Saturday evening.

According to the Franklin County Coroner Marty Leffler, 62-year-old Terrell Abernathy of Maplewood, MO died at the Franklin County Hospital just after five Saturday evening.

Coroner Leffler says it is unclear if Abernathy died as the result from a medical condition or if he drowned.

An autopsy is scheduled at 9 a.m. Sunday morning in Carmi.

Leffler says that Abernathy was visiting some friends in southern Illinois and went to the South Sandusky Beach to swim with his two adult daughters.

That's when the outing turned tragic.

Abernathy's daughter told authorities that the lake was very rough and that her dad was headed toward the beach.

When Abernathy started to swim toward the beach he went under the water and his daughter tried to save her father and yelled for help.

Almost 10 minutes had lapsed when Abernathy was placed on a swim raft where a nearby swimmer started CPR, according to Leffler. He was unresponsive when an ambulance transported him to the hospital.

Abernathy was pronounced dead at 5:10 p.m. at the Franklin County Hospital in Benton.

The case is under investigation of the Franklin County Coroner and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

If an autopsy reveals Abernathy drowned, this would be the second drowning in 10 days at the Sandusky Beach area of Rend Lake.

Funeral arrangements for Abernathy will be through the Jay B. Smith Funeral Home in Maplewood, Missouri. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

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