Shark bite, drowning occur off Cocoa Beach

Two incidents take place on same stretch of beach

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Cocoa Beach police said one man was bitten by a shark and another man drowned in the same area of the beach.

Police said both incidents happened Sunday near 900 N. Atlantic Ave. in Cocoa Beach.

Police said the first man, who has not been identified, was bitten by a shark around 3 p.m.  The man did not suffer any serious injuries, police said.

A few hours later, William J. Clifford, 66, of Arizona, was swimming with a friend near Ocean Landings Resort when the surf became rough and he was pulled out to sea by the current.

Cocoa Beach Fire Rescue brought Clifford closer to shore, where they were further assisted by Cocoa Beach police and Beach Rangers to bring him to the shore, officials said.

Local 6 spoke with a bystander who helped rescuers pull Clifford to the beach.

"I looked in the face of the wave and I saw his back, so I just swam to him and helped drag him in," Scott Steward said.

Clifford was taken to Cape Canaveral Hospital, but despite rescue efforts, he died a short time later.

Brevard County Ocean Rescue officials said there were more than 20 rescues over the weekend. Lifeguards flew red flags for much of the weekend, and expect dangerous swimming conditions to continue through the beginning of the week.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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