3 drown off Florida beach in dangerous surf conditions

Posted at 8:45 AM, Jun 25, 2019

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Police officials say three people who drowned off a Florida Panhandle beach were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico while hazardous conditions flags were flying.

The News Herald reports 48-year-old Richard Redmon of Vernon, Florida, drowned while swimming while double red flags were posted at Panama City Beach on Friday. On Sunday, 41-year-old Jesse Spaulding and 59-year-old Jeffery Simms drowned as single red flags were flying. They were visiting from West Virginia.

Officers say Redmon had been trying to help another swimmer in distress when he drowned.

Spaulding was brought to shore Sunday by other swimmers after he got caught in a riptide. Simms was also caught in a rip current. Bystanders and paramedics attempted CPR.

Double red flags indicated "extremely dangerous surf conditions." A single red flag signifies high hazard.