Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies today assisted in the rescue of two distressed swimmers in the Gulf of Mexico near the Majestic Sun Condominiums in Miramar Beach, Fla., shortly after 3 p.m.
Lt. Mike Howell observed two distressed swimmers, a 15-year-old boy and his father, calling for help from approximately 80 yards offshore. He immediately stripped down to his uniform pants, borrowed a boogie board from a beachgoer and entered the Gulf of Mexico.
Deputies Jeff McIntosh and Nick McMillian arrived to the scene within minutes and joined Lt. Howell in the water to assist in the rescue. During the event, an unknown surfer swam to the boy and safely brought him to shore while the WCSO heroically battled the rough red flag surf conditions to bring the boy’s father to safety.
“I’m very proud of the actions taken by Lt. Howell and Deputies McMillian and McIntosh,” said Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. “Their courage and quick response resulted in the avoidance of tragedy.”
The boy was transported to a nearby hospital by the South Walton Fire District. He was treated and released.
“The tragic loss of two swimmers last week in waters off Walton County beaches was very much on the minds of these deputies,” said Major Graham Fountain, WCSO Director of Law Enforcement Operations. “They took quick action, placing themselves in harm’s way to get the father and son back safely onshore.”
Citizens and visitors are encouraged to monitor the beach flag warning system. The beach flags provide general warnings about overall surf conditions and do not specifically advise the public of the presence of rip currents. However, increasing awareness of natural conditions which pose a significant risk at the beach, such as rip currents, is a critical element to improve public safety. Florida’s beach warning flag program uses flags in four colors accompanied by interpretive signs along the beach to explain the meaning of each color.
LOW HAZARD – Calm Condition, Exercise Caution
MEDIUM HAZARD – Moderate Surf and/or Moderate Currents
HIGH HAZARD – High Surf and/or Strong Currents
WATER CLOSED TO PUBLIC
Marine Pests Present
For Further Information Contact:
Public Information Officer
Walton County Sheriff’s Office
(850) 892-8186 (main)
(850) 401-4612 (cell)