Riptides claim life at Matagorda again
On Sunday, June 9 around 4:15 p.m., Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office deputies were notified of a man being swept out in the gulf by rip tides about ¼ mile from the pier at Jetty Park.
The man was identified as Javier Lopez, 64, from Chicago, Ill. was said to be wade fishing at the time he was swept out. Sgt. Phillip Hester, who was one of the deputies working beach patrol, entered the water and swam out 150 to 200 yards to try and rescue Lopez but was taken under by the riptide.
Sgt. Hester was able to escape the riptide and swim back to shore. Deputy Tyler Garza got into a boat with a local boater and they went out into the gulf to try and locate Lopez.
Garza and the people on the boat were able to get Lopez into the boat and drove him to the LCRA boat ramp where EMS had staged and was waiting. CPR was being performed on Lopez all the way to the boat ramp. Once on shore, EMS Personnel determined Lopez was dead.
Sheriff “Skipper” Osborne notified Lopez’s family who was at the beach. JP-6 Jim Powell was called to the scene and performed an inquest.
Osborne said it should be noted that Sgt. Hester is a former Navy Diver and excellent swimmer and was barely able to escape the clutches of the rip tide that shows how dangerous the swimming conditions can get at Matagorda Beach.