Ridgeland teen drowns Sunday at Hilton Head beach

August 8, 2010 

An 18-year-old Ridgeland man drowned Sunday afternoon while swimming with his younger brother and sister in chest-deep water off of Hilton Head Island's Folly Field Beach park, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office.

Xavier Eady was pronounced dead at Hilton Head Hospital about 45 minutes after disappearing under the waves at about 5:25 p.m., not far off the public beach near 55 Starfish Lane, said deputy coroner David Ott.

The teen had been swimming with his 16-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister as his mother watched the group from the shore, Ott said. The boy's siblings had come ashore when Eady's mother noticed he was missing, he said.

She had been searching the beach for about five or 10 minutes when she saw three men carry him from the waves, he said.

"The boys were swimming and their mother was on shore," said Joheida Fister, a spokeswoman for the Town of Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division. "When EMS and rescue crews got there, he was out of the water."

The teen's mother told emergency responders that he had gone under the water and was non-responsive, according to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Col. Neal Baxley.

A bystander was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Eady when the first of 12 Shore Beach Service lifeguards arrived on the beach at 5:25 p.m., said Shore Beach Service Director Ralph Wagner.

Lifeguards are scheduled to work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., however, a few guards were still in the area when the distress call came in, Wagner said.

A Shore Beach supervisor and another lifeguard who were at Burkes Beach were the first to arrive on the scene and took over CPR, he said.

The teen was taken by ambulance to Hilton Head Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Ott said.

Wagner said waves offshore were about 4 to 6 feet.

It was the second drowning in two days on Hilton Head.

On Friday night, a 72-year-old Hilton Head Island man died after he apparently fell from a dock into Broad Creek and drowned as he fled the downpour during a family reunion.

The body of John Young Jr., was found about 6:15 a.m. Saturday by a fisherman near the Broad Creek Marina, Ott said. Authorities believe Young slipped and fell into the creek.

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