Tragedy Strikes: Three Rescued Alabama Swimmers Pass Away, Says Florida Sheriff

Tragedy Strikes Three Rescued Alabama Swimmers Pass Away, Says Florida Sheriff

Panama City, Florida –

Three men from Alabama have a horrible beach holiday finish. They were recovered from the Gulf of Mexico off the beaches of Panama City in Bay County, Florida. “I have witnessed so many people, including visitors to our community, come together on the beach to desperately search for them,” Sheriff Tommy Ford wrote on Facebook.

Ford hailed the first responders’ incredible bravery in navigating treacherous and murky conditions.

Following their rescue, the swimmers died in a nearby hospital. On the beaches, red flags were flying to alert swimmers to the potential dangers of rip tides.

The trio reportedly went into the water on Friday night around 8 p.m. on the east end of the beach off of Thomas Drive, according to the sheriff. They were positioned roughly one hundred yards off from the coast.

Visitors are urged by officials to keep an eye on and understand the flag system. Two red flags were flying on Friday, so swimming is prohibited. Swimmers are advised by Lt. Billy Byrd to swim parallel to the shore until they are out of a rip current. Stay away from it.

Tragedy Strikes Three Rescued Alabama Swimmers Pass Away, Says Florida Sheriff (1)

 

To access additional NOAA information, click this link.

Lt. Byrd said that on Monday, more details on the three men’s names would be disclosed.

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He also said that the seas are “treacherous for rescuers” on ABC 33/40 News. Although there was just one rescue operation on Friday, workers monitored the beach all day and issued advisories to visitors to stay out of the water.

Rescue efforts along Alabama’s beaches have been intensified by ALEA’s aviation section. To assist in identifying swimmers in need, it monitors Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

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