Rip current dangers remain high amid recent drownings in Brevard, beach safety officials warn

Beachgoers attempted to save drowning victim

Beach safety officials are warning beachgoers to swim near lifeguards and look out for posted warnings about rip currents after several swimmers recently died in Brevard County.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Beach safety officials are warning beachgoers to swim near lifeguards and look out for posted warnings about rip currents after several swimmers recently died in Brevard County.

On Monday afternoon, Peter Dahmer and Scott Lockhart were enjoying a day at the beach when they spotted a body in the water.

“Me and Scott rush into the water and we’re like searching and finally like a wave rolls him over,” Dahmer said. “I grab his upper half body and he grabs the lower half the body.”

Brevard County Sheriff’s office identified the man as 26-year-old Geronimo Deangelo Black. Rescue teams arrived after his body was recovered from Spessard Holland beach park in Melbourne Beach.

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“When we found him, the first thing we picked him up we were trying to keep him out of the water,” Lockhard said. “The first thing I wanted to do was just like make sure he’s good, I wanted to see if we could have a chance at saving him.”

According to a police report, Black had disappeared on Sunday while swimming at Juan Ponce de Leon Landings. On that same day, the body of a 23-year-old woman had been pulled near the same area--both were from Palm Bay.

“This last weekend we experienced 2 to 4-foot waves,” Eisen Witcher, Brevard Ocean Rescue Chief said. “People don’t quite remember that ocean is still full of hazards and the water may look very inviting but also they need to be aware that there are rip currents; the biggest thing is swimming in a lifeguard area.”

But on Saturday, Cocoa Beach police responded to an emergency call after a man and woman went into distress at an unguarded part of downtown Cocoa Beach--the woman was pulled from the water and survived but the man did not-both were from out of state.

Brevard County Ocean Rescue said beachgoers need to look out for flags posted and what they mean. Red is for rip current activity.

“The most important thing to do is relax, stay calm. Don’t fight the current,” Witcher said, adding swimming parallel to the shore helps get you out of the rip current, and floating on your back and wait for help to arrive.


About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.