A busy weekend for Beach Rescue teams with over 100 water rescues taking place in just one day.
At least 10 people have drowned in the Gulf off Panama City beach this year, and sadly another has passed away due to the strong rip currents.
With swimmers ignoring all signs to not get in the water, News 13 spoke to a paramedic that performed rescues this week, who say this can all be easily avoided.
Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, Surf and Beach Patrol as well as Panama City lifeguards responded to over 100 water incidents this weekend in total.
Swimmer after swimmer got caught in rip currents after ignoring the double red flags.
“We really want people to understand that you don’t have to go very far in the water to get caught in a rip current, and we want everyone to understand they are very strong, this weekend they will continue to be that way until the sand bars take a new shape.” said paramedic Brandon Polkowski.
Waves reaching 10 feet high stemming from Hurricane Barry, there was even a human chain made outside of Treasure Island condominium resort on Sunday.
Paramedic Brandon Polkowski says rescue teams strongly advise against human chains as it could result in more potential drownings.
“We just strongly advise that you don’t take any chance at all and please do not get in the water and put yourself in danger or any others at risk.” said Polkowski.
Many tourists who avoided getting in the water and obeyed the warning flags said they are happy they did so. Alan Knowles is from Tennessee; He says he is in disbelief at the amount of people who ignore the warning signs.
“I was surprised to still see people in the water. my perspective, people are working really hard to keep the flags marked and communicate whats going on and people are still getting in. I was surprised by that.” said Knowles.
The wife of a man who drowned last month is asking the beach city council to create a law for those who ignore the flag system. The proposed law would be named Stacey’s Law. Refer to the article on my panhandle.com for more details.
Rescue teams strongly advise all swimmers to pay attention to the flag system and follow all rules.