Sheriff: Man drowned clinging to life jacket

Sheriff: Man drowned clinging to life jacket

BAXTER COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Baxter County sheriff's deputies are investigating the drowning death of a man found clinging to a life jacket.

A witness discovered the body of 76-year-old Samuel A. Balsano, Jr. of Gamaliel floating in the water near Point 6B on Lake Norfork around 6:30 a.m. Friday, according to a news release from the sheriff's department.

Deputies and emergency medical personnel located his body in the area where Bennett's River empties into the lake.

There was no sign of injury or trauma to his body. Balsano, the report stated, was said to have health issues.

According to Balsano's wife, he had left their home around 7:30 p.m. Thursday to go fishing. He was last seen leaving the boat dock in his 1976 Hydrasport boat between 7:30 and 8 p.m. As of this writing, the boat has not been found.

Balsano's body has been sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner's Office in Little Rock for an autopsy.

Officers are continuing to look for the boat, and the incident remains under investigation.

Officers and agents with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baxter County Coroner's Office, and the Gamaliel-101 Fire Department assisted in the recovery and investigation.

Region 8 News will have more information as details emerge. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

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