Human chain helps to recover second drowning victim

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - It was supposed to be a day at the beach to make lasting summer memories for Jorge Diaz, III his son and four nieces and nephews.

Waveland Police Chief Jimmy Varnell says Diaz and the 5 children were about to go for a swim Sunday afternoon when tragedy struck.  "He brought them over to have a good time before they went back to school," the chief was told.  "He said they had walked out and all of the sudden they dropped off into some deep, deep water. You know the sandbar out 100 yards but once you pass that sandbar it just drops off and you go in most probably 8 feet of water six foot of water seven feet of water really quick.

The bodies of six-year-old Zyria Lee and eight-year-old Jorge Diaz IV both of New Orleans disappeared Sunday afternoon off of Waveland Beach near Oak Boulevard.

Nikki Coursey and her fiancée were out at the beach when people lost sight of the two girls.  "When it dropped off they all started going under and he said he grabbed the three little ones and got them to the sand bar and when he turned around Zyria and Jorge were gone and he couldn't find them," she said.

Coursey did all she could to help.  "We just took off what we could and took off running. The father was out in the water looking for his son and his niece and he was screaming for them," she said.

She says after 45 minutes of searching they found the six-year-old girl.  "My fiancee grabbed her and took her to the sand bar and we started doing CPR on her," Coursey said. "Just hoping and praying that it would work but I knew she had too much water and mud in her lungs I cleared her air-way and Frank started compressions there was too much mud and water."

According to DMR spokesperson Lauren Thompson, the departments created a human chain consisting of 20 people.  "They waded in the water and eventually found the little boy," Thompson said.  Officials found Lee's body at 3:55 p.m. Diaz IV was found at 5:14 p.m. Another child, Paris Diaz was reportedly in serious condition and was taken to Hancock Medical Center.

Search and rescue boats from the Department of Marine Resources, Hancock County Sheriff's Department, the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department, Waveland and Bay St. Louis police combed the waters by boat.  Meanwhile Gulf Coast Search and Rescue searched by horseback.  About two-and-a-half hours later the body of the Jorge Diaz, IV was pulled out of the water.

The chief said, "It's very tragic."

Coursey was just as sad.  "Now he's lost his son his only son and his niece and it's a horrible tragedy. I can't imagine the hurt that he's feeling," the Pass Christian resident said.

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