for immediate release
August 8, 2002

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The death of a Louisiana man today (Thursday) in the Gulf of Mexico off Okaloosa Island appears to be an accidental drowning. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office was called to the beach behind The Breakers Condominiums, 381 Santa Rosa Boulevard just after 4:00 o'clock this afternoon (Thursday afternoon), where members of the Okaloosa Island Fire department were performing CPR on a man who had just been pulled from the water.

Witnesses said the victim, Craig John Rabalais, age 38 (9-20-63) of Kenner, Louisiana, had been pulled under by a strong undertow, after being knocked down by a wave. Bystanders assisted a lifeguard in pulling Mr. Rabalais to the beach an initiating CPR. He was pronounced dead at Fort Walton Beach medical Center less than hour later.

Red flags were flying along the beach in that area to warn of dangerous surf conditions.


for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420