3-year-old drifts away on floating toy and drowns in Nebraska lake, sheriff says

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A toddler drowned in a Nebraska lake after drifting away on a floating toy, officials say.

Three-year-old Avery Grace Mendiola was riding the flotation toy Wednesday evening on Johnson Lake when she drifted away from the swimming beach area, according to the Gosper County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses told investigators the toy flipped over and the girl fell into the water. She was not wearing a life jacket, the Lexington Clipper-Herald reported.

A fire and rescue dive team searched the water into the night and found her body after resuming the search Thursday morning, officials said. An autopsy was scheduled.

Johnson Lake is just south of Interstate 80 in central Nebraska.

Avery was from from Lexington, which is about 12 miles from the lake.

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