Officials identify body of teen found on New Smyrna Beach

Rip current pulled 14-year-old underwater

By Lisa McDonald, Lisa Bell - Anchor

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Authorities have identified the body found on New Smyrna Beach Monday morning as 14-year-old Michael Nelson, the teen who disappeared while swimming at the beach a day earlier.

Nelson was discovered by a jogger around 6 a.m. Monday in front of the Hacienda del Sol condos in the 4200 block of South Atlantic Avenue on New Smyrna Beach, about two miles from where he was pulled underwater by a rip current. Officials said Nelson suffered an asthma attack while swimming.

The Volusia County Beach Patrol told Local 6 that Nelson was swimming with some friends off New Smyrna Beach just before 4 p.m. Sunday in an area that is unguarded by lifeguards. The other kids came out of the water, but the teen did not.

"They had just put on suntan lotion and were out there about 10 to 15 minutes," a witness said.

Officials conducted a three-hour search using power-skis and helicopters before calling it off around 7 p.m. Sunday.

Officials said the waters were rough Sunday and red-flag warnings were posted all weekend.  There were about 75 rescues, including about a dozen children, according to beach officials.

"They need to be safer (and) bathe in front of a lifeguard," Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Jack Driskell said. "(Parents should) educate these youngsters to swim in front of a lifeguard, always."

Lifeguards say fighting the current can be tiring and can cause panic.

"It hurts, we take it personally each and every time we have an accident, a drowning, a near drowning or death involved on the beach," Driskell said. "We try to get the word out, we fly the red flag we man as many people on the lifeguard towers as we can."

Already, four people have died in the water. Driskell says there are several things you can do to stay safe at the beach.

"Try not to panic. Go with the current if it's a rip current in the ocean. Never be bathing alone, know your limitations, make sure you can touch the bottom securely at all times and the biggest and most important is, swim in front of a lifeguard tower that's manned," said Driskell.

To spot rip currents, take note of choppy water; spots with a difference in water color;  a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily out to sea; and a break in the wave pattern.

In nearby Ormond-by-the-Sea, lifeguards tried to save a 66-year-old man from Indiana and a companion. The man, identified as Adam Wireman Jr., was holding onto the buoys and suddenly let go. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Officials said Wireman died of a heart attack.

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