Daring Rescue Saves Deputy and Victim

Throughout the day, the Bay County Sheriff's Office received more than 40 water related calls and 2 separate water distress calls, one involving their own deputy.

"The gulf doesn't care who you are. It doesn't care how good of a swimmer you are, you get out in it, you could be hurt," said Sgt. David Higgins.

That was the case late Monday morning when one unidentified man got caught in a rip current. Deputy Tim Justice went into the water to try and pull him to shore, but instead got caught in another rip current.

"Deputy Justice was in the water in a strong rip current holding onto his subject for 14 minutes before I was able to get to him," said Higgins.

Higgins attributes adrenaline and the bond of brotherhood for his daring rescue. He was able to get both men to safety, however he says it frustrates him that people still choose to get into the water under double red flags.

"We have to put our safety on hold and go rescue these people who have made the bad decision to go in on double red flag days,
said Higgins. "It's not fair to the people around them, it's not fair to us, and definitely not fair to our families at home."

Visitors to the beach say they understand Higgins feelings, but say say some people think a little fun in the water is worth taking a chance.

"You come for just a short period of time and you think I wanna get my money's worth cause I'm down here," said Sherry Mix, visiting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, "but it's not worth it. You don't wanna get on the news for the bad stuff."

There isn't any information on the condition of the man that was rescued, however Deputy Justice was treated and released from a local hospital and back to work before the end of the day.


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