Ft. Myers Man Drowns After Caught in Rip Current Along Treasure Island Beach
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, at approximately 7:15 p.m., the Treasure Island Police Department (TIPD) and St. Pete Beach Fire and Rescue responded to a water rescue in the 10600 block of Gulf Blvd on Treasure Island Beach behind the Bilmar Hotel.
According to TIPD, a 911 caller reported three swimmers may have been stuck in the rip tide in urgent need of help. Officers arrived on scene and observed several swimmers in the rough surf. St. Beach Fire and Rescue arrived shortly after and began life saving efforts both in the water and on shore. Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue also responded and assisted with efforts on the shore.
A group of friends had been swimming together when they were apparently caught in a dangerous rip current. Several minutes may have passed before witnesses noticed they were in distress and struggling against the current.
The group included 43 year old Jody Boyer of St. Petersburg, 45 year old Carlton Dubois of St. Petersburg, 47 year old Kimberly Dubois of Ft. Myers and 48 year old Robert McCarthy of Ft. Myers. Boyer, Carlton Dubois and his sister Kimberly returned to the shore aided by first responders and a number of passersby. Carlton also tried to render aid to the others.
McCarthy was initially located under water by 53 year old Randal Fry of St. Petersburg who also had been on the beach. Fry used a boogie board and paddled out to where he located McCarthy. Fry attempted to bring McCarthy to shore; however, he was struggling against the treacherous conditions before being assisted by a rescue swimmer from the St. Pete Beach Fire and Rescue.
McCarthy was brought to shore where CPR and other life saving measures were undertaken before he was transported to Palms of Pasadena Hospital. Unfortunately, McCarthy was under the water for too long and died early Friday morning as a result.
TIPD reminds the public to be aware of their swimming abilities as well as their limitations. When using any of the beaches in our state, swimmers should check local forecasts from a number of available resources such as the National Weather Service, the Weather Channel or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or a number of other local media outlets for rip current warnings.
If you are caught in a rip current, do not fight the current but rather swim out of the current parallel to shore. If you cannot escape, try to float or tread water and call or wave your hands for assistance.