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Man drowns off Madeira Beach

By Times Staff
Published March 29, 2005

MADEIRA BEACH - A 69-year-old British tourist drowned Monday afternoon in high surf off Madeira Beach.

Fred Parry was swimming with three friends in chest-deep water about 3 p.m. when witnesses heard him yelling, "Help me," according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Parry drifted several blocks before friends, using borrowed body boards, could bring him to shore. He was pronounced dead at Palms of Pasadena Hospital. Parry, of Hampshire, England, had been staying at the Surf's Inn Motel on Gulf Boulevard. A high surf advisory was in effect from the National Weather Service from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday as winds gusted to 25 mph. Rip currents are a particular hazard with high waves, meteorologist Paul Close said.

"If you get caught in one, it's hard to get out," Close said.

Madeira Beach is not staffed with lifeguards, but signs warn visitors they are swimming at their own risk. In the John's Pass area, signs warn swimmers of strong currents.

[Last modified March 29, 2005, 01:30:12]

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