Three drownings in three days on Bay County beaches

Bay County

BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — It was another deadly weekend in Bay County as three people drowned over the weekend and another is in critical condition.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said they all happened on the west end of Panama City Beach and single red flags were flying. 

He said the first incident happened Friday when a 60 year old man was rescued from the gulf.

Then on Saturday near the 19,000 block of Front Beach Road, a 28 year old and nine year old went into the water with their family and did not return. BCSO was called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. 

“Our information was that they were unable to swim,” Ford said. “We later located their bodies in that general vicinity of the locations where they went in. The 28-year-old male about 8:30 Saturday night and unfortunately the nine year old male around 10:30 Sunday morning.”

Missing swimmers recovered in Panama City Beach

Then a third on Sunday when a man went into the water near beach access 90 to help a family member in trouble.

“Our understanding is a family member was having cramps and he swam out to get him and he got in trouble himself and he did pass away,” Ford said. 

Sheriff Ford said his condolences go out to all of the families. 

So far this year there have been 111 rip current drownings in the country. 29 of those were in Florida.

Nearly half of those happened here in the panhandle with a total number of 14.

Sheriff Ford said just because you can stand in the water, it doesn’t mean it is safe to be there, especially if you aren’t a good swimmer.

“They are relying on the fact that they think they can stand up and then they get swept off their feet or fall into a hole where they can’t swim,” Ford said. “That’s where they get into some real trouble.”

Sheriff Ford said the best way to keep you and your family safe is to always pay attention to the flag system, be vigilant when you’re on the beaches and if the recommendation from the flags is to not go in then don’t.

Ford said the flag system is posted at almost every beach access as well as at hotels and local businesses.

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