South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department


Beach Roll-over Kills 1, Injures Another

Money Bayou RolloverEarly Thursday morning, August 21, 2014, SGCVFD was called to the south beach area by Money Bayou. An SUV had rolled over several times, coming to rest on its roof in the surf.  Both occupants were ejected.  One occupant's legs were pinned in the surf by the SUV.  He died as a result of his injuries or by drowning.  The other occupant experienced critical injuries and was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he was Life-Flighted to Bay Medical Center in Panama City.

It has not been determined at what time the event happened, but it could have been hours before it was discovered by vacationers and called in.  The surviving occupant appeared to be suffering from hypothermia.

Several factors contributed to this tragic event

  • Excessive speed - A beach is not a paved road. There are ruts, bumps, holes, logs, chairs, and people all over the place.  This is the reason that the beach driving ordinance has put the speed limit at 10 miles per hour.
  • Rapid direction change in the sand - Even on the hard-packed sand, when a vehicle changes direction, the leading tire digs into the sand.  If this change is fast enough or the speed high enough, it can cause a vehicle to roll over.  SUV's are especially prone to this since they are top-heavy compared to two-wheel drive vehicles.

  • Failure to wear seat belts - If these victims were wearing seat belts, death and severe injury would probably not been the result. Even though the vehicle was in the water, the passenger compartment was not submerged.

This is the second event like this we have had in the past year.  Please be careful when driving on our beaches.

Posted by Captain Vince Bishop - Thursday, 08/21/14, 11:15 AM - Comments - Category: Health and Safety


Comment by Cathy Rutherford on August 21, 2014 - 02:05 PM

Hey Vince - I heard the Life Flight Helicopter fly over our house at about 6:30am. Now I know what it was!! Prayed for them as they went over! Thanks for all you do!!

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