In a deeply saddening incident, former NFL star quarterback Ryan Mallett succumbed to a tragic mishap while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off the Panhandle coast. The beloved NFL veteran, aged 35, met his untimely end while taking a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of the Panhandle on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
The Arkansas-born Mallett was swimming towards a second sandbar, roughly 150 feet from the beach near Gulf Shores Drive, when he began to encounter difficulties around 2:15 p.m. This information was relayed by sheriff officials in a press release on Wednesday.
Lifeguards raced into action to rescue the former Patriots quarterback. Despite the swift response of the lifeguards, Mallett was unresponsive when recovered and was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Officials released bodycam footage showing the urgent response to the incident.
No Riptide Currents Involved
Florida authorities dismissed the possibility of riptide currents in the tragic drowning incident involving former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett. On Wednesday, they made public the body cam footage capturing the officer’s immediate response to the scene of the tragedy.
The Oskaloosa Sheriff’s Office clarified that the county was under a yellow flag, indicating “swim with caution,” and that there were no dangerous surf conditions. As clarified by the Sheriff’s Office, the circumstances did not involve any riptides, despite certain misunderstandings.
“Neither Okaloosa County nor Destin were under red flag or double red flag warnings. The flag was yellow, signifying caution. It appears to be a heartbreaking accident unrelated to surf conditions, tides, or currents.” Aden clarified
Aden clarified, “Neither Okaloosa County nor Destin were under red flag or double red flag warnings. The flag was yellow, signifying caution. It appears to be a heartbreaking accident unrelated to surf conditions, tides, or currents.”
Concern Over Rising Drowning Incidents in the Gulf
Even if Ryan Mallett’s death was riptide-unrelated, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford expressed his frustration over the growing number of drownings, which pose a risk to first responders.
From June 14 to June 25, due to life-threatening currents, flags were elevated to “Single Red” or “Double Red,” making it illegal to enter the Gulf of Mexico.
His Facebook post highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating, “I’m beyond frustrated with the tragic and unnecessary deaths in the Gulf.” Recent data reveals seven people have already lost their lives at nearby Panama City Beach this year, a record for 2023 according to National Weather Service data. “I have watched while deputies, firefighters and lifeguards have risked their lives to save strangers. I have seen strangers die trying to save their children and loved ones, including two fathers on Father’s Day,” Ford stated.
He also said his deputies get cursed at when they try to warn visitors of the dangers in the Gulf of Mexico. The deputies have had to deal out $500 fines whenever they see people in the water if double red flags are up.
“We don’t have the resources or time to cite every single person that enters the water but we do our absolute best to use it as a deterrent to entering the water,” Ford said. “Personal responsibility is the only way to ensure that no one else dies,” he stated.
Remembering Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallett, a veritable legend in the world of football, made a mark during his time as the quarterback at the University of Arkansas from 2009 to 2010.
Fondly remembered for his powerful throws and remarkable arm strength, Mallett had recently started coaching at White Hall High School in Arkansas, continuing his association with the sport he loved.Follow us on Twitter
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