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Longboat Key Friday, Jun. 26, 2009 5 years ago

Key Club employees save guest from drowning

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

Staff members of the Longboat Key Club and Resort saved a Clearwater man who was swept out to sea by a rip tide Thursday, June 26.

Nick Colonna, a frequent guest of the club, was swimming in the Gulf behind the Inn on the Beach at 3 p.m. Thursday, when a strong rip tide began carrying him several hundred feet away from the shoreline.

Longboat Key Club and Resort pool and beach staff member Kevin Shaw, followed by staff member Rob Peltier, jumped in the water with a life jacket to save Colonna.

Shaw and Peltier kept the exhausted Colonna afloat while staff member Ben Murray reached the three swimmers in a kayak and brought Colonna to shore.

Longboat Key Fire and Rescue, along with club staff who were waiting with life-saving devices, were on shore when Colonna arrived in the kayak.

Colonna, whose lungs were half-filled with saltwater, was gasping for air and seen spitting up blood. He spent the night at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is returning to Clearwater today.

The club does not have official lifeguards on duty, but Key Club Public Relations Manager Katherine Songster said guests were warned about the rough conditions Thursday, and all employees are certified in life-saving techniques through the club’s training-and-certification program.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

 

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