Body of out-of-state man, 25, who drowned, recovered in New Smyrna Beach surf

Swimmers ordered out of water Sunday afternoon for massive search with help of Coast Guard and Sheriff's helicopter

Rescuers search for tourist in New Smyrna Beach who later washed up as a drowning victim / Headline Surfer®Map of drowning in New Smyrna Beach near Flagler Avenue / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® / Rescuers search for aan out-of-state tourist who disappeared under the surf Sunday near the Flagler Avenue Beach approach. His body washed ashore late Sunday evening.
 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The body of a 25-year-old old out-of-state swimmer reported missing at 12:30 p.m. in the surf near the Flagler Avenue approach was recovered nearly nine hours later after apparently washing up on shore.

The search by lifeguards on jet skis with assistance from the nearby Coast Guard and a Volusia County Sheriff's helicopter turned up nothing and was interrupted at one point for about a half hour in the early evening by lightning strikes before being called off at 7:30 p.m. But the body washed up on the shore sometime after that and was recovered shortly after 9 p.m.

The victim was in the surf with a woman from Orlando when a female lifeguard saw them struggling and the female acquaintance waving her arm for help so she immediately swam out to them.

The Orlando woman was rescued but the man went under and the lifeguard didn't see him again.

Drowning victim may have stepped off sand bar into deeper water

New Smyrna Beach surf can get rough as shown here. / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photo by Multimedia Editor Serafina King-Frederick /
The surf can get pretty rough at times as shown in this scene setter from last year in New Smyrna Beach, but apparently thwe waters were calm Sunday near the Flagler Avenue Beach approach where a 25-year-old tourist drowned.
 

Lifeguards had the surf cleared of swimmers so they could search without interruption in what were apparently calm waters with beach safety officials later theorizing the victim may have stepped off a sandbar and then found himself in water way over his head, leading to his drowning.

Lifeguards had the surf cleared of swimmers so they could search without interruption in what were apparently calm waters with beach safety officials later theorizing the victim may have stepped off a sandbar and then found himself in water way over his head, leading to his drowning.

Lifeguards on jet skis moved south about 1,000 yards towards the lifeguard station while others dove into the surf in the immediate vicinity. But what started out as a search and rescue turned into a search and recovery after several hours.

Beach safety personnel discovered the victim's body on shore just after 9 p.m. brought in by the high tide near the Flagler Avenue Approach. No information was released how far out he and the Orlando women were in the surf when they were first spotted in trouble. 

Internet newspaper unable to get details from Beach personnel or county

Headline Surfer® pieced together what happened from two print newspaper online reports for this story because it was unable to get information directly from the Beach Patrol.

An initial email was sent to Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Capt. Tamra Marris, the spokeswoman for the agency formerly called the Beach Patrol, at 6:47 p.m. Sunday.

An automatic email reply from Marris stated she was "out of town" and to email Capt. Michael Berard for media-related inquiries.

Berard was subsequently e-mailed and an automatic email response came back from him at 6:55 p.m. stating he was on "bereavement leave" and to contact Deputy Chief Scott Petersohn. Headline Surfer® subsequently emailed Petersohn, but the email went unanswered.

The internet newspaper then sent an email addressed jointly to county spokesman Dave Byron and to public information specialist Pat Kuehn seeking assistance, but the email went unanswered, too.

The Orlando Sentinel reported after 11 p.m. that the swimmer's body had been recovered onshore and that he was 25 and from out of state. The Daytona Beach News-earlier said the swimmer may have been from Pennsylvania, having come down to Central Florida with several friends.

The drowning victim's name was not released.

On May 26, Headline Surfer® sent emails to the county and beach safety personnel after a toddler had run out in the driving lanes on the beach and was struck by a car, resulting in minor injuries and a transport to Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach.

A follow-up complaint was lodged with Byron that afternoon because the internet newspaper was unable to get anyone from beach rescue personnel to confirm the incident and injuries to the child. Byron wrote back via email to Headline Surfer: "I am out of the loop as well. I will find out where the breakdown was." But Byron did not follow through with the internet newspaper as promised in his email.

Volusia County sopokesman Dave Byron / Headline Surfer®A follow-up complaint was lodged with Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron, shown here at left, on the afternoon of May 26, because the internet newspaper was unable to get anyone from beach rescue personnel to confirm an incident involving a toddler struck by a car on the beach and the minor injuries suffered that led to a hospital transport.

Byron wrote back via email to Headline Surfer®: "I am out of the loop as well. I will find out where the breakdown was." But Byron did not follow through with the internet newspaper as promised in his email. And he did not respond Sunday night when emailed for assistance on the New Smyrna Beach drowning Sunday of a 25-year-old out-of-state man, whose body washed ashore later in the evening near the Flagler Avenue approach after a massive search by beach saftety personnel with assistabnce from the Coast Guard and a Sheriff's helicopter.

Then without a head's up, the internet newspaper as well as other Central Florida daily media outlets started receiving email alerts from Marris on June 9. The alerts continued daily through June 16.

Then Marris switched to tweeting her daily report to reporters' cell phones. The last tweet was sent by Marris on Tuesday before she went out of town.

There has been no contact from other agency personnel since then other than the automatic reply emails early Sunday night after the drowning.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.