An approximately 30 year old man died while swimming near Opal Beach Sunday evening.
The call came in at around 5:20 p.m. Sunday evening. According to a release issued by Navarre Beach Fire and Rescue Department Chief Danny Fureigh, his department responded to the first parking lot on the eastern end of Gulf Islands National Seashore for a drowning call.
When Fureigh’s crews made contact with bystanders they said there was an approximately 30 year old male struggling and screaming for help. Witnesses said the victim submerged and never resurfaced.
Navarre Beach Fire and Rescue launched the Waverunner at 5:25 p.m. and began conducting a search grid. At 5:33 p.m., the victim was located at the bottom in about 12 feet of water. Firefighter Grant Winterberry dove to the bottom and was able to get the approximately 240 lb. victim from the bottom of the Gulf up to the rescue board attached to the Waverunner.
Crews made their way to the beach and CPR was started immediately. Crews were able to get a pulse back and the decision was made to fly the victim to Baptist Hospital in Gulf Breeze where the victim later died.