Man drowns while visiting family in Va. Beach

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-18 22:58:39-04

Red flags are still flapping around life guard stands at the oceanfront warning beachgoers about the choppy water which could make it a dangerous day at the beach.

That's what happened over the weekend. Police say 56-year-old Steven Henry drowned.

He was from Illinois visiting family in Virginia Beach.

Right now, it's unclear if he died because of a medical condition or because of the strong rip current.

Bruce Nedelka, Chief of EMS, says the waves may not look bad while you're standing on the beach. But once you're in it, it's a different story.

Nedelka adds, "Swimming in a pool is way different than swimming in open water. You need to know your limitations."

Mason Mendez is visiting Virginia Beach from St. Louis.

He usually boogie boards when he's at the beach. But because the flags are up and the water looks really choppy, he's spending the day on the boardwalk.

Mendez adds, "Whenever you actually get out there it does scare you. When you get out far, you start to feel it pulling at you."

And to help remind tourists about why the red flags are up, hotels are playing videos and some have signs up warning visitors about the danger in the water.

But for others like Shawnell Bly and her family who are from Virginia Beach, the red flags didn't stop them from getting in the water.

It did, however, make them extra cautious about watching the little ones who don't know how to swim.

Bly adds, "We made sure we held hands the entire time and we only went up to my daughter's thigh. She's only five so not too far at all."