This sad story comes to us from Northwest Florida Daily News. The Emerald Coast of Florida experienced rough surf and a tragedy during the last week of March. Red flags were flying along beaches as warnings to swimmers to stay out of the water. A low pressure system had made its way into the area and created Victory at Sea conditions. High Surf Advisories and rip current warnings were issued as well. All of these things coming together were a recipe for disaster.
The warnings weren’t enough to keep many beachgoers from entering the water. A good Samaritan in Navarre Beach, FL lost his life trying to save a 10-year-old swimmer. A press release from Navarre Beach Fire Rescue stated that crews were dispatched to lifeguard tower Number 3 to assist three swimmers in distress. A firefighter on a PWC attempted to reach the three swimmers and failed to make it through the rough surf.
A Navarre Beach resident and avid swimmer helped pull the 10-year-old from the water. The firefighter on the PWC rescued three other swimmers who were unable to make it to shore under their own power. The good Samaritan was unconscious when he was pulled from the water by teams from Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office and Navarre Beach Fire Rescue. Deputies and firefighters administered CPR on the victim. He was then transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center where he was confirmed dead on Monday.
“Visitors and locals need to know the flag system. Prevention is No. 1. Anytime we have a fatality it’s like a punch in the eye,” said Navarre Beach Fire Rescue Chief Danny Fueigh. Rescue crews and locals do the best they can to get the word out about the flags and conditions in the water. Unfortunately, beachgoers don’t always take heed and find themselves in trouble.