Florida: 2 Dead, Over 500 Rescued at County’s Beaches in Past 24 Hours, Officials Say

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Three people have died and more than 500 people were pulled from the ocean along beaches in Brevard, Flagler and Volusia counties in 24 hours from Sunday afternoon to 6:30 p.m. on Memorial Day as rough surf and dangerous rip currents have been keeping lifeguards busy all weekend long.

Four were transported to hospitals on Monday morning alone, according to Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue. One of the four transported, a 62-year-old visiting from Lebanon, was pronounced dead just before noon Monday. A Beach Safety spokeswoman said that person was pulled out of the water at Ormond Beach.
Christopher Milhoan, 43, from Tampa, died Sunday.
Later in the day, Jose Lopez, 50, of Kissimmee, drowned in Melbourne Beach.

Lopez, according to police, was reported missing by family members around 5 p.m. Family members said the man went for a walk along the beach, and he was later found in the surf by beachgoers about two blocks from where his family was located.

Red flags have been flying along the coast for much of the weekend, warning of a high rip current risk and keeping lifeguards busy.

“I was scared, because we got to our chests, and I just felt it — I just said ‘No, we’re turning around,'” said Mary Pearsall, at New Smyrna Beach. “Being in there, it was too scary.”

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue officials said they rescued more than 340 people on Monday. There were 30 jellyfish stings reported, as well.

“The water is treacherous out there today,” Volusia County Beach Safety Director Mark Swanson said just after lifeguards rescued a woman at New Smyrna Beach. “We just warn anybody that goes out there and swims today to swim in front of a lifeguard.”

Twenty-three people were rescued out of the water Monday in Flagler Beach, officials said. There were also rescues in Brevard County, but officials didn’t have an exact number as of 6 p.m.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily