Panhandle Drowning

A Virginia man has died after trying to rescue his wife and son from a rip current. 56-year-old Mark Steven Voight became the year's first drowning victim in the Florida Panhandle.

He drowned at Miramar Beach in Walton County on Monday. The Panhandle has a reputation of being among the most dangerous areas in the nation for swimming.

At least 24 people drowned on beaches along the Panhandle last year.

More than 40 people have drowned over the past three years on about 125 miles of beaches from the Florida-Alabama state line to just East of Panama City. Walton County has no lifeguards on 26 miles of beaches.

Virtually all the Panhandle drowning deaths have occurred on unguarded beaches.