2 West Virginia men drown in the Gulf off Panama City Beach


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – It started as single red flags Sunday morning, but was quickly upgraded to double red as first responders performed a number of water rescues throughout the day. 

Panama City Beach police and Beach fire rescue arrived at the beach near Crane street and Front beach road in response to a distressed swimmer. 

The swimmer was pulled from the water shortly after 2 o’clock. 

First responders and bystanders performed CPR at the scene before transporting the patient to a nearby hospital. 

The man pulled from the water has been identified as 59-year-old Jeffrey Simms of Morgantown, West Virginia. 

Despite life-saving measures, Simms passed away. Single red flags were flying at the time. 

A separate drowning death happened shortly after, this one behind the Long Beach resort. 

Witnesses said 41-year-old Jesse Spaulding of Dingess, West Virginia, was swimming when he was caught in a rip current. 

Spaulding was pulled to shore by bystanders as they began CPR. 

He was transported to a hospital where he later died. 

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