Local Woman Dies After Being Pulled From Ocean In Panama City Beach

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A Hartselle woman died on Wednesday, three days after she was pulled from the ocean in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Sonia Westmoreland, 42, died at Bay Medical Center.

Police say they were called to 15811 Front Beach Road on Sunday evening about the situation.  The officer who responded saw Westmoreland lying on the shore with several people around her.  Four men had just pulled her from the ocean, and another person was performing CPR.

The officer talked with Westmoreland’s father, Kenneth Westmoreland, who said Sonia went in the water to pull her daughter and two friends from the rip current.  Another man, Erik Kenzer, also went in to help and got the three girls out safely.  He then noticed Sonia floating face-down in the water about 20 yards from shore.

Four men went in after her — Zach Westerfield, Matthew Webb, Logan Mitchell and Daniel Gunderson.  They pulled her to the shore.

Kenzer’s wife, Patience Peeale, began CPR on Westmoreland, and Charles Cooper, an off-duty firefighter/EMT continued it.  However, Westmoreland’s mouth was turning blue, and the officer noticed it when he arrived at the scene.  Paramedics rushed her to the hospital soon afterward. 

Westmoreland died at the hospital on Wednesday around 2 p.m.

Since Saturday, officers from Panama City Beach Police and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office have responded to dozens of water calls.  They have pulled at least 17 people out of the water due to the high current, and are warning people to stay on the shore until conditions improve.

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