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Tragic drowning of three men Friday at Florida beach ahead of the July Fourth holiday acts as chilling reminder about water safety

Three Alabama tourists drowned Friday at a Bay County, Florida beach after getting caught in a rip current

The men, ranging in age from their early to mid-20s, were visiting Florida’s panhandle with friends, according to reporting from NBC News South Florida. Their death comes just one week before July Fourth celebrations, a holiday that is projected to bring millions of travelers to the state. The three men in Friday’s tragic incident were caught in the rip current by 8 p.m. The U.S. Coast Guard and local emergency services were called out to the beach where the men were seen struggling in the water. Rescuers searched for two hours and the three men were taken to a local hospital where they died from their injuries. 

Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that can quickly trap swimmers. NOAA advises swimmers caught in a rip current to swim parallel to the shore instead of directly to avoid drowning because of fatigue. 

A history of representing loved ones

Florida’s white sandy beaches, clear waters and natural beauty attract millions of tourists every year. As vacationers bask in the Florida sunshine or stretch out on chaise loungers before rolling waves, it can be easy to forget the potential risks. The Florida panhandle is responsible for the most rip current deaths in the United States. About 28 people caught in rip currents in 2021 drowned, breaking a 12-year record in the state. In 2023, that number was 25. Preliminary numbers from the National Weather Service show 11 rip current deaths for 2024. Data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Centers for Disease Control show that June, a time when most schools are out for summer, remained the consistent month in which these deaths took place. 

With offices in Miami and Key West, Leesfield & Partners has seen the toll these kinds of deaths have on families from incidents in the ocean and at public and private pools. 

Earlier this year, Leesfield & Partners filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and the owner of a rental property after a toddler drowned in a pool without the necessary safety precautions. Despite being pulled out of the water and quick medical intervention, the child died just weeks after the incident. An investigation by attorneys with the firm revealed that the home where the child and her family were staying was not equipped with the regulation safety measures required by state law including a child safety fence. 

Another case of child drowning handled by Leesfield & Partners’ Founder and Managing Partner, Ira Leesfield, resulted in a seven-figure settlement after it was revealed the property where the incident took place had an insufficiently installed pool fence. 

Another Leesfield & Partners case handled by Ira Leesfield involves the death of a woman and her two young daughters. The lawsuit found that the U.S. Navy did not keep its pier in safe operating condition resulting in the three deaths. The father in that case was awarded almost $3 million.

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