A tragedy happened Friday while a family was on vacation. Thomas Edward Buss, 61, drowned on Navarre Beach.
It happened on a public part of the beach. Reportedly, the man had been vacationing in Navarre for 30 years, and apparently was fishing when he went in the water after a lost pole.
“We do have red surf conditions here, the red flags are up,” said Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Richard Aloy. “It was kind of rough there earlier, and it’s still kind of rough now.”
An investigation to find out what exactly happened is underway. Law enforcement wants to remind vacationers to follow the flags.
“As I was looking out here earlier, there’s two rip currents sitting, one to my left and one to my right,” said Sgt. Aloy. “To the trained eye, you can’t tell what that is. The reason the red flags are up is cause there’s dangers in the water and those need to be adhered to.”
Beachgoers say a tragedy like this is normally not what comes to mind when they think about Navarre.
“It’s really sad,” said Alice Schmookler, who has been vacationing in Navarre for 20 years. “I never think about it when I’m here since it’s so peaceful. I never think about those things, but very sad about that.”
Alice’s husband and son were in the water for about 45 minutes, then got out as the sun began to set.
“We don’t really think about such bad things happening,” Schmookler said. “We just assume we’re gonna be ok, probably like everybody else does.”
Friday’s tragedy serves as a tragic reminder to be aware of the water conditions for the Schmookler family.
“It feels so close to home when it’s this close to where we swim,” Schmookler said as she looked out over the beach.
The man’s family was on the beach with him when he drowned. An investigation will determine the factors in his death.