South Walton Fire District (SWFD) responded to a fatal water rescue incident near Miramar Beach Regional Beach Access on Saturday at approximately 1:56 p.m.
The original 9-1-1 caller reported to SWFD Dispatchers that multiple swimmers were in distress near 2375 Scenic Gulf Drive. SWFD’s Surf 5 lifeguard responded to the caller’s location, then entered the water and made contact with several swimmers who were approximately 150 yards offshore.
These swimmers stated a male of approximately 20 years of age was in distress and then submerged. They said they had lost sight of the individual and had been searching for them while lifeguards were enroute.
At that time, two more lifeguards and SWFD Advanced Life Support arrived on-scene. The lifeguard signaled back to shore of a “Code X” at 2:04 p.m., which initiates the search for a missing swimmer.
The three lifeguards began searching in a pattern to the east based on the direction of the current and located the victim at 2:16 p.m. Lifeguards then brought the victim back to shore, where the individual was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Single red flags were flying at the time the incident occurred, which indicate high surf hazards and the presence of dangerous rip currents.
SWFD would like to remind the public that the 2023 Beach Safety Season will begin on Wednesday, March 1, with the staffing of lifeguard towers and full-scale beach safety operations. Until that date, lifeguards are patrolling 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day in accordance with off-season protocol.
Lifeguards encourage beach patrons to heed the beach flag warning system at all times. For daily beach flag updates, text SAFETY to 31279.
SWFD would like to thank the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for their response and assistance during this call.
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