CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A trip to the beach turned deadly Friday afternoon.
A group of people on the Packery Channel South Jetty found themselves in the water. All but one person from that group were able to get themselves back to shore.
“The gentleman had difficulty getting in on his own,” said Corpus Christi Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Richie Quintero. “Lifeguards arrived on scene, were able to enter the water and, despite the rough bay, able to get him back onto land.”
That man later was pronounced dead at Bay Area Hospital. Quintero said he doesn't know how the group ended up in the water, but with Hurricane Delta stirring up Gulf waters on its way to Louisiana, that people should exercise extra caution when at the beach.
“Whether their plan is to be in the water or not," he said. "In this case I don’t believe the plan was to be in the water, (but) caution and awareness needs to be exercised if (people) plan on using the beach.”
Not much information has been released about the lifeguards who risked their lives to rescue the man, but they sustained minor injuries and were also taken to Bay Area Hospital, where they were treated and released.
Quintero commended those lifeguards for their actions.
“Their mission and their significance is in their name -- in the 'lifeguards,' " he said. "They’re there to guard life. They put themselves in peril on a daily basis for when they’ve got to come to anyone’s rescue, anyone’s call for help or assistance.”
Quintero also praised lifeguards for continually patrolling the beach with the goal of helping people return home safely.
“Those that decide to take on that responsibility and job -- for myself, for yourself -- keep us safe when we’re on the beach," he said. "They’re there to ensure that we can enjoy ourselves, and we can find a way back home when we’re done with the enjoyment of the beach."
Quintero has been with CCFD for nearly 27 years, and he said this is the only incident he can remember of lifeguards being injured in the line of duty.