A third person drowns off Longboat Key; lifeguards on the Island rescue several swimmers caught in rip currents
Thousands of people enjoyed Anna Maria Island’s white sands and
blue skies over the Memorial Day weekend. SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Memorial Day weekend drew thousands of people to the beaches over the weekend and there were some problems with rip tides on Sunday, but it got quieter on Monday.
Lifeguards at Manatee County Beach and Coquina Beach reported a number of distress calls Sunday from swimmers who got caught in the swift offshore currents.
In Longboat Key, the currents took the life of a third person Sunday within a week of an incident that killed two people.
Gilbert Castelo, 62, of Longboat Key and Pine Brook, N.J., was spotted floating face down around 5 p.m. about 50 feet from shore, according to a Longboat Key Police report. The drowning happened in the 3400 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive, the same address as the incident five days earlier in which John Larry, 48, of Grand Island, N.Y., and Christopher Gugliussa, 51, of Tonawanda, N.Y., drowned.
Lifeguards said Monday that the rip currents were gone and there were no calls for help from anybody caught in one.
A woman was injured Sunday in the Gulf off Gladiolus and North Shore when she wrecked her personal watercraft. According to EMT Pete McKelvey , the unidentified victim, who suffered head lacerations, could not talk, but gave a thumbs up when asked how she was doing. Later, she said she did not know what happened. She said she woke up on the beach. She was airlifted to Bayfront Hospital.
There was an incident Sunday that demonstrated how dry it is, despite recent rains.
Lifeguard Captain Joe Westermann said that the fire department was called to Coquina Beach to extinguish a fire in some sea oats located between guard tower two and three. He said the fire burned a patch approximately 30- by 15-yards.
According to witnesses, the fire started when a piece of burning newspaper that somebody was using to start a grill blew out of the grill and into the sea oats. The fire spread quickly. There were no injuries and despite producing a large cloud of smoke, the fire was extinguished quickly. Lifeguard Collin Schmidt said heavy traffic delayed fire trucks headed for the fire.