Less than two weeks before his high school graduation, a south Georgia teenager died after being pulled from the water at a Florida beach.
Jaylen Lott, 18, played football at Lowndes High School and was to graduate May 26. Instead, his family and school community are mourning his death. Lott died Sunday at a Florida hospital.
“Our hearts ache for our Viking family today,” the Valdosta school system posted on its Facebook page. “The loss of a young life is always impossible to understand. We will continue to keep each of you in our thoughts during the days to come.”
Sunday afternoon, St. John’s County, Fla., firefighters were called to St. Augustine Beach on a report of several swimmers in distress. Two swimmers were rescued, according to the fire department. But it took nearly 90 minutes to find Lott, with rescuers searching the water and from the air.
Lott was taken in critical condition to Flagler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
St. Johns County Fire Rescue Lt. Lucas Smith said rip currents were a risk at the beach Sunday, Jacksonville media outlets reported. A red flag warning was in effect when Lott went missing.
Two other people died after an unrelated incident on St. Simons Island, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.
Gregory Grant, 39, of Brunswick, went into the water Sunday to help a woman and a child who were struggling to get back to shore, Glynn County police said.
The woman, 34-year-old Aleisha Rankin of Jesup, and the toddler child made it back to land but Grant never resurfaced. Rankin later died at the hospital. Police said the toddler was in good condition.
About 7:30 a.m. Monday, family on St. Simons Island spotted Grant’s body in the water. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.