3 Dead, Caught In Florida Panhandle Rip Current

(RepublicanReport.org) – The National Ocean Service with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that an estimated 100 people die per year in rip currents. These naturally occurring events are narrow channels of water that can move up to eight feet per second, sweeping everything — including people — out to sea.

On June 21, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in the Florida Panhandle reported it received a call stating three swimmers were in distress in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the swimmers had been found and was receiving medical treatment, while the other two were still unaccounted for.

Subsequent updates stated the other two were found, but one had already died. A follow-up post relayed the devastating news that all three had passed away despite rescue efforts. The three young men were from Alabama and had just arrived in Panama City. When they went out for a quick swim, a rip current pulled them out, and they were unable to swim back to shore.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office commended emergency services, the US Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their assistance in recovering the swimmers. The Alabama residents were later identified as Harold Denzel Hunter, Jemonda Ray, and Marius Richarson — ages 25, 24, and 24, respectively. Red flags were posted on the beach, warning swimmers about rip current conditions and that it was hazardous to swim in the area. Unfortunately, the vacationers didn’t heed the warnings.

The tragedy happened just one day after a family visiting from Pennsylvania got caught in a rip current off the southeast coast of the state. Brian Warter, Erica Wishard, and their two children went swimming in the ocean when a rip current pulled them out as well. The kids were able to swim to shore, but the parents didn’t survive the ordeal.

NOAA advises those caught in that situation to swim parallel to the shore and more toward land at a diagonal instead of fighting the current.

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