Swimmers Who Defy Red Flags Also Endanger Others

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Deputies and other first responders are asking beachgoers to stay out of the water when red warning flags are posted.

Double red flags were posted Monday along the Florida Panhandle's beaches but that didn't stop people from swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Deputies responded to 42 water calls and two distressed swimmer calls on Monday.

Bay County Sheriff's Maj. Tommy Ford says swimming when red flags are flying is a violation of a county ordinance and can lead to arrest. He says deputies won't hesitate to make arrests.

Authorities also say those who defy red flags can endanger those who try to rescue them as well.

Deputy Tim Justice was hospitalized with water in his lungs Monday after rescuing a swimmer who got into trouble in the rough water. The man he rescued remained in the hospital late Monday.

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