FT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The father of a teen who drowned Memorial Day weekend is speaking for the first time about his son’s death and is now encouraging others to learn water safety.
“Before my son went to the beach that day he made his bed up,” said James Clark, Jr.
Fifteen year old James Clark III went to John U Lloyd state park with his family on Memorial Day. According to police the family noticed the water was getting rough, but as they were making their way back to shore, a wave pulled the boy under.
Hours later his body was found. Good Samaritans helped pull the teen from the surf and then performed chest compression until paramedics arrived. The boy was then taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Saturday at his funeral, his classmates and teachers remembered him as a focused student, a great friend and just a really nice guy.
“He was a good kid and I wish I could bring him back,” said one James’ friends.
Clark knows he can’t do that, but what he can do is educate himself and others about water safety.
“I had told my son if you ever get caught in a rip current to swim side ways. I mean that’s what I had heard to do,” said Clark.
That was the message for about 100 of James’ friends and classmates as they gathered Saturday afternoon for a celebration of James’ gathering.
“Don’t try to swim against the current because you will not win,” said Gio Serrano with Safety and Rescue Training, LLC.
Serrano reminded they kids if they are every caught in a rip current, they should tread water, keep their head up and try to swim either to your right or your left so they don’t get caught up in the current.
Clark said his son would want his friends to know what to do to save their lives.
“Had he known, he would’ve still been here today. If I would’ve took the time, I feel he would’ve still been here you know? So, I’m definitely going to work on that with my other kids,” said Clark.