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Teen drowns, several rescued from rip current at state park

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com

A teenage boy from Georgia drowned and several people rescued after a rip tide carried them into the Gulf in the water at T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

The incident happened about 5:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to a release from the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office.

Responders from the SO, Gulf County EMS and the South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department spotted four individuals in the water roughly 150-200 yards off shore.

Several visitors to the park, on the beach, heard and noticed the distressed swimmers being taken out into the Gulf of Mexico by a rip current.

They also assisted with rescue efforts during and prior to the arrival of first responders.

SGCVFD deployed personal watercraft used in water rescues and brought the individuals, at least four, to shore, according to the press release.

A search continued by first responders after learning a 14-year-old boy was unaccounted for.

He was located and pulled ashore where resuscitation efforts began. EMS rushed him to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Port St. Joe where he was pronounced dead.

The teen and his family were visiting the park from their home in Alburn, GA.

Yellow flags were flying at the time.

“This is such a tragedy,” said Sheriff Mike Harrison. “Our hearts go out to this young man’s family and friends.”

The investigation into the incident was turned over to The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.