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'Just a tragedy': Officials say Good Samaritan, 14-year-old boy die at McKinley Beach

Posted at 10:36 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 10:36:19-04

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office says a "good Samaritan" died while trying to save two teenage boys at McKinley Beach this weekend.

Authorities say a 50-year-old man, identified as Jesse Brock, went in to help two 14-year-old boys who were struggling in the water on Saturday. Only one of the boys survived.

Last month, a 19-year-old man died trying to save two children from the water also at McKinley Beach.

That's when the Milwaukee Fire Department said water rescues were already up for the year.

Plenty of people were back at McKinley Beach on Sunday.

"It's terrible that it's happened here again," said Stafford Kramer. "It's just a tragedy."

The news took some families by surprise. Wetjen said his 8-year-old has been taking swimming lessons but says the recent tragedies makes him want to keep a closer eye on his daughter.

"We make sure that one of us has our eyes on her at all times," Wetjen said. "We make sure that she doesn't go out farther than what I think I can race in and get her."

While that may be the instinct, rescue crews say that's exactly what you should not do.

Thomas Woyte is a former lifeguard at Bradford Beach, which is just up the road. He says when you see someone struggling, you should call for help and leave the rescue to professionals. If you can, he says try to throw the person something that floats or something that could help them to safety.

"If the waves are crashing over you and you’re taking gulps you’re; going to grab on to the first thing that you can," Woyte said. "So having some sort of flotation devices that you can throw to the person."

He said people should stay as close to shore as possible to avoid getting in trouble.

That's what Laquaysha Mitchell does when she takes her little cousins to the beach.

"You just make sure that they don't go too close," Mitchell said. "I only let them put their feet in the water. Like these kids out here, I don't let them go that far."

According to this website, McKinley Beach was technically closed through the weekend for elevated bacteria.

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