VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Authorities have not released the name of a 22-year-old man whose body was pulled from the ocean near Winter Haven Park at Ponce Inlet Tuesday afternoon.
Volusia County Beach Patrol and Volusia County deputies searched the area after the man was reported missing earlier in the afternoon.
The section of beach where the victim went under does not have a lifeguard on duty during the week.
Witnesses said the rip current caught three people, but the victim never made it back to shore.
"I'm from here, so I know that when there's a strong tide like that, anything can happen," said witness Marion Carson. "We just saw the other lady started panicking and then we tried to get some information, and we found out that her husband was in the water."
The woman's husband was searching for their nephew as another witness called
911 when Beach Safety Ocean Rescue rushed to the scene to search the white water.
"We launched two
Jet Skis and we also had a couple of guards out there on paddleboards and Air One, also," said Tammy Marris of Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
Officials said the Sheriff's Office helicopter was the first to spot the man who was not moving. Rescuers performed CPR on the beach and an ambulance rushed the victim to Halifax Medical Center, where he later died.
"It's just a terrible scenario all the way around," said Marris. "Like I said,
It's extremely important to swim in front of an open lifeguard tower. Even the most experienced swimmers can get caught in a rip current, and it can pull them into deeper water."
During the summer season, there will be more lifeguard stands open.