Two People Drown In Bay County Over Memorial Day Weekend

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

Panama City Beach Police thought they had a drown-free Memorial Day weekend, but after Monday night's discovery, it's a tragic end to the holiday weekend.

Waters were calm along the Gulf Coast Tuesday; but, it was a different story this past weekend.

Rough seas killed two vacationers in the Panhandle.

"They were the roughest I have ever seen it as far as the undertow goes," Sgt. Tony Walker, with the Bay County Sheriff's Dept. said.

The Bay County Sheriff's Department received 24 water calls and made 39 rescues.

A 21-year-old Mississippi man was found dead 100 yards off shore on Sunday near the Carousel area of unincorporated Bay County.

"His name is Pierre Allen; he was not even swimming. Friends say he just got back from Iraq, "Sgt. Walker continued.

Jordan Russell Sheldon of Trussville, Alabama, also 21-years-old, was found Monday night in the water behind the Inn Paradise Hotel in Panama City Beach.

Sheldon was last seen Saturday night behind Seahaven Beach Motel on Front Beach Road.

"Eight o'clock last night, we recovered his body, washed off shore not too far from where he was missing, "Deputy Chief David Humphreys, with the Panama City Beach Police said.

Further west along the coast at South Walton Beach, life guards are stationed at eight locations. But, it’s not something that is in the works for Bay County.

"It’s an issue for our policy holders to make. The county commission and that would cost a lot of money,” Deputy Chief Humphreys added.

Some beach goers say adding a lifeguard to the beaches may not be a bad idea.

"It is the gulf and there are sharks out there. If you are drowning and life guards are out, they are there to help you on the beach," said Jessica Alley, a Panama City Beach resident.

"If you are in the water and there is always someone here who can help you, it would be good," Jordan Pritchard, another beach visitor said.

In order to prevent drownings, authorities using a public address system to warn swimmers about rough seas.

There are also color coated safety flags hanging at every public beach access way.

Remember, double red means no swimming.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office and the Panama City Beach Police check the water conditions daily to determine what color the beach safety flag could be.

They are not predicted days in advance, so officials say to check them every day.

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