Officials are urging safety on our area beaches this Memorial Day weekend after a man disappeared in the surf on Mustang Island and was later found dead.
The 75-year-old victim was swimming with a group of people near beach marker 87 around 11:45 Thursday morning when he was last seen. A Coast Guard crew found his body around beach marker 25 about an hour after that search began.
It’s unclear if a rip current is to blame, but there is a high risk this holiday weekend. There was also a red flag as part of the warning system to indicate hazardous water conditions.
“On a red flag day, I’d probably steer clear of the beach. Maybe hit the pool,” advised Robin McGill, battalion chief with the Corpus Christi Fire Department. “But if you’re going to be out here, maybe keep it close to the shore but definitely be safe.”
Patricia Angelides and her husband are heeding that message. They came from San Antonio to fish on Mustang Island, noticed the rough surf right away and took precautions.
“I thought it was just prudent to wear a vest, in case I get knocked over because of the undertow,” she told KRIS 6 News.
Other anglers like Steve Hardwick from Buda didn’t seem as concerned.
“I really haven’t felt much of a rip today. There’s been a little bit of pull but not enough to pull you off your feet or anything,” he said.
However, the avid angler also understood that not everyone is as comfortable in coastal waters and do not frequent the beach as much. He advised those people to “know your limits.”
If you’re ever caught in a rip current, experts want you to remember the phrase, “wave, yell, swim parallel.” Be sure to wave and call out for help. Don’t fight a rip current by swimming into it. Swim parallel until you’re free from the current, then you can head towards the shore. You can find more safety tips at the National Weather Service’s web site for rip currents.
As of Friday evening, the victim had not been identified. First responders said he is not from this area.