After his cousin disappeared under water Samuel Lewis rushed into the nearest public place yelling for help:
Samuel tells News 25, “A man just went underwater and he ain’t came back up, and I need some help I can’t swim”
Authorities pulled the body of forty-nine year old James Lewis of Gulfport out of the water near Island View Casino in Gulfport. Lewis says before his cousin drowned. The two of them were just sitting on the rocks by the water getting some fresh air.
Samuel tells News 25, “He didn’t dive, he walked into the water, stretched out like he was going to swim, start swimming and later I see him going down. That’s the last I seen him.”
Authorities used rescue boats, dive teams and sonar technology to locate Lewis.
According to Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt divers found his body under water right near the water by the Island View Hotel tower.
“He popped back up and said he could swim and he was all right and then the next thing you know he went back underwater and never came up again,”
Samuel tells News 25 he asked his cousin what he was doing when he went into the water and James did not say anything back.
Samuel says he can’t swim but James was a natural.
Samuel tells News 25, “He was an excellent swimmer.. Excellent..”
Regardless of how good anyone can swim… The fire chief says the water gets pretty deep near the hotel and says even those most experienced swimmers could get caught up in the current.
“It’s not really a swimming area there that the person dove into.”
Authorities have ruled the death accidental.