U.S. News


3 dead in one day in separate drownings at Florida beach

Double-red flags indicated that no swimming was allowed and that conditions were hazardous.
Double red flags at a Florida beach
Posted at 1:48 PM, Jun 28, 2023

Three people died at Florida’s Panama City Beach Saturday, all in separate drowning incidents.

Water conditions on the day were severe. Double-red flags indicated that no swimming was allowed and that currents were hazardous.

The fatal water incidents occurred behind three different resorts on Front Beach Road.

The Panama City Beach Police Department said officers responded to the first incident at 12:04 p.m., where they found lifeguards actively rescuing a female, 39-year-old Kimberly Ann Mckelvy Moore, from the Gulf of Mexico behind Days Inn. She was brought to shore but unresponsive to life-saving measures. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

In a second incident, officers found lifeguards actively rescuing a male from the Gulf of Mexico behind Boardwalk Beach Resort at 1:13 p.m. The victim, 63-year-old Morytt James Burden, was transported to a hospital after being unresponsive to life-saving measures, and was pronounced deceased. 

Seaweed washed up on a beach

Seaweed blob heading to Florida may contain flesh-eating bacteria

The bacteria that researchers think is wrapped up in the seaweed is known as Vibrio.


Police responded to a third incident at 4:23 p.m., where lifeguards were attempting to save another male, 68-year-old Donald Wixon, behind Emerald Isle Condos. He was also unresponsive to rescue efforts and pronounced dead at a local hospital. 

A spokesperson for Panama City Beach told Scripps News that warning systems are in place across the city when water conditions are dangerous. Here is the full statement: 

Every public beach entrance in the city and county (there are 96) has a sign displaying/educating people about the flag warning system.

In addition, the Tourist Development Council flies a plane over the beach with a banner that reads we are under double red and the water is closed.

Code Enforcement officers put up special STOP the Beach is Closed signage on the beach.

The flag warning system includes 52 flags within the City limits, where the flags can be seen flying; they are changed as needed.

The public can sign up for text alerts to receive daily flag status notifications through the Bay County alert system.”

Over the last 10 days, officers responded to calls of 70 swimmers in distress, and 39 of those calls happened on Saturday, police said.