Missing Swimmer Near Grand Panama Identified

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH - Several law enforcement agencies are trying to find a Georgia man that went missing in the water near the Grand Panama Beach Resort Saturday night.

Panama City Beach Police have confirmed the identity of the man.

Authorities have confirmed the identity of the missing man as 27 year old Jamarcus C. Bell from Hephzibah, Georgia.

Authorities were called around 6:30 P.M. about a missing swimmer. Yellow flags were flying and officials say that was appropriate at the time of the call.

What started as a beautiful day in Panama City Beach soon turned into a nightmare.

Dozens of people on the beach and those staying at the Grand Panama and nearby are wondering what happened.

Lisa Bland was standing on her balcony at the Grand Panama Beach Resort when she heard about the possible news.

"It seems like someone has drowned, passed away and my granddaughter and I had been swimming out here. The undertow wasn't real bad at all. It's just devastating for whoever it is," said Bland.

Kait Steel who's staying nearby says she heard sirens and was also wondering what was going on.

"Our first thought was that maybe someone was hurt like actually up on shore and it just looked like there was a crowd of people on shore like surrounding someone," said Steel.

Officials say the missing 27-year-old Georgia man was trying to help someone else in the water who was in distress.

After helping the other person out, he then became distressed himself and has been missing since.

911 calls from witnesses began around 6:30 P.M. and that's when multiple law enforcement agencies started investigating.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called shortly after.

"That's when we realized that there was police standing on the tool box looking out into the water with binoculars and the jet skis were going," said Steel.

It's a realization that other witnesses say hit home for many looking for answers on the beach.

"It's sad and I noticed no one...everyone stops and they don't play anymore. They're not in the water. They're all out of respect for the family and that's good," said Bland.

Law enforcement officials tell NewsChannel 7 they are still searching for the missing swimmer.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Panama City Beach Police, Bay County Sheriff's Office, Firefighters, and EMS personnel were all on scene Saturday night.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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