In what has to be the saddest story from Louisiana waters this year, we learn from that three men have died in a single accident this week.

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Officials from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries believe that the heart of this tragedy lies within a worsening weather situation and the failure to use life preservers.

According to LDWF, Zachary LeDuff, 18, of Greenwell Springs, La. and Zane Bryant, 20, and his father, Michael Bryant, 48, all drowned Sunday, June 26, on Louisiana's Lake Maurepas.

At the recovery of their bodies on Monday, officials noted that none of the three were wearing personal floating devices. states that:

The incident began when LeDuff, who was swimming in the lake near the mouth of Blind River, began to struggle. Zane Bryant went into the water to rescue him, and then his father jumped off the pontoon to help when the younger men began to struggle. None resurfaced.

A total of eight people were all passengers on the pontoon boat on which the three men were also riding and it's still unclear if any of those were equipped with personal floating devices.

Along with a host of other legally mandated devices, Louisiana law is very clear regarding the necessity for personal floatation devices as it reads:

  • Louisiana law requires that all children age 16 and younger wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, or III PFD while underway on a vessel less than 26 feet long. The PFD must be fastened and properly sized for the child. Inflatables are not allowed for children age 16 and under. A wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, or III PFD must be readily available for each of the other passengers on board.
  • Everyone on board a motorboat less than 16 feet propelled by a hand tiller outboard motor must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V PFD while the motorboat is underway.
  • You must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, or III PFD for each person on board a pirogue, canoe, or kayak. The PFD must be properly sized and in serviceable condition.
  • If you’re riding on a personal watercraft, you must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
  • Individuals engaged in watersports, including but not limited to waterskiing, being towed on a tube, wakeboarding, wake surfing, etc., must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD. An inflatable PFD is not permitted.

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