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'It's so sudden': Family mourns loss of loved one who drowned off Beer Can Island

26-year-old Isaac McNair and two friends were trying to bring their boat back to shore after the anchor broke and were swept by a current.

TAMPA, Fla. — An adventurous and loving young man's life was taken during a day out on the water at Pine Key Island with friends. 

Isaac McNair's family says he was a family man, who was quiet, but outgoing. They knew he was out on the water with friends on Sunday, May 28, but never expected to get the call he was missing. 

"You know he was the baby," his older sister, Bianca McNair, said. "There was nothing we wouldn't do for him. There's nothing he wouldn't have done for us. So it's just hard."

Speaking only to 10 Tampa Bay's Angelina Salcedo, she said she spoke to Isaac the day before he went out with friends. 

"He was like, 'We're going to the beach!' I said, 'You know what, have fun,' It's not the first time they've gone out on the boat. It was like their guy thing to do. To just go and have fun," Bianca said. 


Isaac had texted his dad a around noon while he was out on Pine Key Island, also known as Beer Can Island. Lawrence McNair said he saw the video of him out on the water and finds comfort in knowing his son was able to share the moment with him.

"He sent the video at 12 and I think maybe 4, was when his mother called me and said, 'Have you heard from Isaac? I was like, 'No, what do you mean?' She said, 'Well, I called him, but he's not answering.' She let me know he was missing in the water," Lawrence said.

Being miles away in California, Lawrence frantically called Tampa police to see if they knew anything about what happened. They transferred him to the U.S. Coast Guard was were able to confirm his fear. Isaac was still missing and with the sun setting the search had to be called off until Monday morning.

"Isaac wasn't a swimmer," Lawrence said. "He wasn't a swimmer for sure and I'm sure he panicked. I was just thinking, 'Man, if I could have been there, what could I have done to, you know, to save him.'"

The family said the boat's anchor came loose and Isaac and two of his friends went after it to bring it back to shore. A current sucked them in. People who were on boats nearby were able to save his friends, but Isaac went under.

The Coast Guard spent hours on the water searching for his body and were finally able to recover him Monday morning. 

"I didn't think that this was going to be so soon," Bianca said. "For me, it just it feels really sudden. It's so sudden."

The 26-year-old lost his life just 10 days after his birthday. In their solace, Isaac's family finds comfort knowing he died doing what he loved.

"Isaac didn't live a full life, but he lived his life to the fullest and he got the most out of those 26 years," Lawrence said. "I'm just so proud of him for that. I just wish he had more time."

The McNairs have received messages from those who were there that day and tried to help save Isaac. They're finding comfort in knowing he wasn't alone and people tried to help him.

They're working with the medical examiner to get his body transferred to Raleigh, North Carolina, which is where they're from. The McNairs are hoping to have his funeral by next Saturday and are fundraising for the expenses after this sudden loss. If you'd like to help them, you can here.


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