UPDATE: Cardiac episode responsible for beach death

UPDATE, July 28 at 11 a.m.: According to the wife of a suspected drowning victim on Navarre Beach, it was not drowning that killed him. 

Jeff Salter, 63, was pulled from the water Sunday evening by bystanders and transported to the hospital. Lisa Salter said after a medical evaluation it was determined he had a cardiac episode while in the water, and that was what led to his death. 

The Salters were visiting Navarre Beach from Louisiana. 

Sunday, Fire Chief Danny Fureigh said he shared the news with a heavy heart. 

Fureigh said Salter had been swimming from shore out to a sand bar when the incident occurred. Between the shore and that sand bar, shifting sands have created a roughly 15 foot deep drop off.

“Water just runs through there, and he couldn’t get out,” Fureigh said.

If the incident was linked to a cardiac event, those conditions likely did not make a difference. 

Two individuals on the beach pulled Salter from the water, and one of the men was transported to the hospital with chest pain following the rescue attempt. The other individual refused medical treatment.

Once Salter was out of the water, a doctor and nurse who happened to be on the beach rendered CPR Fureigh said.

This incident would have been the first drowning since the launch of a new lifeguard program under the supervision of Navarre Beach Fire Rescue in 2019. The lifeguards, under the guidance of Beach Safety Chief Austin Turnbull, ended the prior summer season with thousands of beach contacts and rescues but no deaths.

Part of the program transition was the placement of regularly stationed guard stands on the west side of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Previously, there had only been intermittent roving patrols to the west side.

Fureigh said the west side towers are a quarter mile apart, and this incident occurred nearly in the middle between two of the towers.

However, Salter’s listed cause of death is a cardiac episode, not the water, his wife said. 

 

UPDATE, July 27 11 a.m.: A 63-year-old man drowned July 26 on Navarre Beach behind Beach Colony, according to Fire Chief Danny Fureigh.

Fureigh said he shared the news with a heavy heart, stating the patient was transported from the scene while in cardiac arrest. 

Yellow flag conditions were reported earlier in the day. And there were thunderstorms in the area at the time of the incident.

Fureigh said the man became distressed while swimming from shore out to a sand bar. Between the shore and that sand bar, shifting sands have created a roughly 15 foot deep drop off.

“Water just runs through there, and he couldn’t get out,” Fureigh said.

Two individuals on the beach attempted to save the man, and one of the men was transported to the hospital with chest pain following the rescue attempt. The other individual refused medical treatment.

Once the victim was out of the water, a doctor and nurse who happened to be on the beach rendered CPR Fureigh said.

This is the first drowning since the launch of a new lifeguard program under the supervision of Navarre Beach Fire Rescue in 2019. The lifeguards, under the guidance of Beach Safety Chief Austin Turnbull, ended the prior summer season with thousands of beach contacts and rescues but no deaths.

Part of the program transition was the placement of regularly stationed guard stands on the west side of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Previously, there had only been intermittent roving patrols to the west side.

Fureigh said the west side towers are a quarter mile apart, and this incident occurred nearly in the middle between two of the towers.

 

Original, July 26 at 7 p.m.: A drowning occurred today, July 26, on Navarre Beach behind Beach Colony, according to Fire Chief Danny Fureigh.

Fureigh said he shared the news with a heavy heart, stating the patient was transported from the scene while in cardiac arrest. 

Yellow flag conditions were reported earlier in the day. 

Updates will be made as more information becomes available.  

drowning

Photo submitted by Sheila Tucker
First responders attend to a drowning victim on Navarre Beach.

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