Witnesses talk about tragic death of Alabama deputy following water rescues


FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WKRG) — This is a tragedy being felt across Baldwin County from the countless law enforcement agencies offering condolences to the beachgoers who saw the commotion Sunday.

Beachgoers say the surf was extremely rough Sunday. Two deputies went into the water to rescue four swimmers. They all were pulled from the water with the help of the Coast Guard. Deputy Bill Smith was taken to a medical clinic in Gulf Shores and later died. A vacationer from Arkansas says she briefly spoke to Smith before he got in the water.

“I think he should be very honored and people should watch [the surf]. Knowing he talked to us before he passed away was kind of sad,” said Cheyanne McMillian. “I think he contained himself very well knowing how many people were out there, it’s kind of sad for real, I will remember him for sure because he did do what he had to do.” A second deputy was hospitalized and released late last night. The sheriff says Deputy Sydney Wentworth is expected to be ok.

This is an area more than a mile from historic Fort Morgan. It’s dotted with several homes and condos. Dozens of beachgoers saw the commotion. Others told me they didn’t know what was happening but knew it was going to be something bad.

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