A 28-year old man died Thursday afternoon after drowning in the waters next to the Packery Channel.
According to a police report, Matthew Sturtz was floating in the water face up for about five minutes, only ten feet from his wife, before anyone realized he was in trouble.
Lifeguards quickly jumped into action, but when they reached Sturtz he was already unconscious. They performed CPR, but it was too late. Sturtz was pronounced dead at Bay Area Hospital.
The police report goes on to say that Sturtz' wife said her husband had been drinking heavily before he drowned.
Rescue officials say if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should never go into the water. It can impair your judgement and abilities, which is the last thing you need because out there in the water, even for the best swimmers, things can go bad very quickly.
"It just takes one wave, one swallow of water, and it can just make you panic," Gulf Beach Rescue Supervisor Mike Smith said. "Even trained swimmers can swallow water, and it'll just take seconds and the panic begins."
Smith said the biggest concern out there are rip currents, which are basically currents that suck outward, often pulling swimmers along. To the untrained eye, rip currents are very hard to see.
Another big concern for rescuers is children. They say if you are going to take your children to the beach, make sure to have enough eyes on them at all times, because it only takes seconds for them to run out of sight and get into trouble.
If you become exhausted in the water, and feel that you cannot swim back to shore, the best thing to do is relax and stay calm. Float on your back and signal to a lifeguard for help with a hand wave.
It is smart to swim near lifeguard stands, and look at the flags by the stands because there is a warning system in place. A yellow flag means there is a moderate risk, and a red flag means there are very hazardous conditions, such as large waves and strong rip currents.
Rescue officials say anytime you see either a yellow or red flag, exercise great caution. On Thursday, when Sturtz drowned, there was a moderate risk.
Rescue officials say know your ability, and do not underestimate the water. It can be very dangerous. Make sure to always swim with someone, and if you can't swim, do not go in the water.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KIII. All Rights Reserved.