Panhandle Drowning

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A 52-year-old Wyoming man is the year's seventh drowning victim on Florida Panhandle beaches where at least 24 people died in 2003.

The crew of a Coast Guard boat pulled Arthur Joseph Wells of Cheyenne from the Gulf of Mexico near Destin Wednesday.

Coast Guard personnel administered CPR while returning to shore. But Wells was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Sacred Heart Hospital in Santa Rosa Beach.

After last year's drowning deaths, officials increased warning flags and signs along about 125 miles of beachfront while adding more lifeguards and safety patrols.

But most beaches remain unguarded particularly after Labor Day, including those in Destin.