Hurricane Florence: 1 dead, 2 injured in rough surf off Central Florida coast

Volusia County Beach Patrol flies red flag

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - One person drowned and two others were injured Sunday in rough surf off the Central Florida coast that is being churned by Hurricane Florence.

Volusia County Beach Safety officials said they rescued 13 victims from the surf, where waves are larger than usual and there's an elevated rip current risk.

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"We expect the surf to build over the next few days and into the latter part of the week," beach officials said. "We are also experiencing impact injuries due to the larger waves. Please be mindful of these conditions if you plan on coming to the beach. We transported two victims to local hospitals with various impact injuries after they were driven into the sand bar by large waves."

A 33-year-old Colorado woman suffered a fractured arm and another beachgoer suffered neck and back injuries off Daytona Beach, officials said.

Meanwhile, lifeguards pulled an unresponsive man from the rough surf off New Smyrna Beach. The 64-year-old Edgewater man was pronounced dead at a hospital, officials said.

Beachgoers are urged to swim with caution and in front of a lifeguard. 

"We try to do that, especially when we got a lot of kids because it's always good to have multiple eyes watching," Rachel Vanlandingham said.

Surfer Robert Phelane said he caught some big waves off Daytona Beach.

"Little bit of a rip current, but more sideways pull going to the north from all the waves breaking that way," Phelane said. "Definitely some swell action coming in. Be careful out there, folks."

Others described the surf as very rough.

"You can feel your feet going with the sand, the current underneath that," beachgoer Dolores Neace said. 

Florence, which forecasters said strengthened Monday afternoon into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, is also causing high tides along the beaches. There is a lot of standing water along the beach, and Beach Patrol officials said that could delay when they open the beach to drivers.

 

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