Man Drowns in Intracoastal

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

An afternoon swim in the Intracoastal waterway turns deadly for a Riviera Beach man.  He was  swimming with a friend before losing his struggle with the strong current.

The  drowning happened at a city park in West Palm Beach. And some at scene say this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened there.

One woman told us it's at least the third drowning at that park in the past five years.

The victim's mother sobbed heavily and was comforted by relatives who gathered at the scene..

The drowning happened in an area at Osprey Park that is clearly marked, no swimming.

But that didn't stop 22 year old Dennis Watson from going swimming in the Intracoastal with a friend.

One woman says she heard the sirens, and looked out the window of her 18th story condo and saw Watson struggling in the water about 3 Saturday afternoon.

"I looked out and there was a head bobbing, floundering, went down, came back up, floundering. And I just wish I was closer because we could see right where he was and then he went down," said Betsy Maloney, an eyewitness.

Police say Watson and a friend had been drinking, when they went for a swim.

Investigators say the tide began to pull them away from shore. Watson helped his friend get to shore but he was not able to save himself.

"Devastatin'. I don't know what to say. We're all still in shock right now. We just can't believe it," said Tiffany Taylor, a relative of the drowning victim.

Police and fire-rescue divers found Watson's body after a 40 minute search.

Maloney, who lives in a high-rise condo that overlooks the park,  says this is not the first time someone has drowned at Osprey Park.  She says unfortunately, people still keep swimming there despite the no swimming signs that are posted.

"They shouldn't be swimming off this beach anyway. And it's about the third one that's happened. And somebody needs to step up in this county and get after these people," Maloney said.

Watson was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center but could not be revived.

Relatives say they're not sure why this tragedy happened, because they felt Watson was a good swimmer.

According to his mother, he had applied to a culinary arts school and wanted to learn to become a chef.