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Tragedy as FOUR men drown in rip currents in Gulf of Mexico in two-day period - including 25-year-old victim who was set to get married
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By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 13:43 EST, 11 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:18 EST, 11 June 2013
Dangerous rip currents in the Gulf of Mexico have claimed the lives of four men who drowned over the course of two days, leading an Alabama resort town to close all of its beaches Monday.
Gulf Shores officials on Monday posted double red flags on all beaches in the city, meaning that extremely hazardous conditions are present and all waters are closed to the public.
Beaches in Gulf Shores were re-opened Tuesday under yellow-flag conditions, meaning that moderate surf and/or currents were present, and swimmers should use caution, according to a telephone hotline for information on beach conditions.
Tragic loss: Matthew Hattaway, 25, was about to get married when he drowned in the Gulf of Mexico; John Hogue, 51, a married father of two, was pulled from the water and pronounced dead just a few hours later
Role model: Hattaway's brother said the 25-year-old was his best friend who always inspired him to be better
The men who drowned were from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana.
Matthew Hattaway, 25, of Bossier, La., was pronounced dead about 3pm Sunday. A relative spotted him floating in the surf, Baldwin County Coroner Stanley Vinson said.
John Hogue, 51, of Overland Park, Kan., died on the beach a few hours later, Vinson said. He had been swimming and was pulled from the surf unconscious.
Authorities said those people were swimming off Fort Morgan Peninsula near Gulf Shores when they got into trouble.
‘The waves didn't appear all that large, but the rip currents were really bad,’ said Grant Brown, a spokesman for the city of Gulf Shores, near where the incidents occurred.
Happier times: In late May, Matthew and his fiancee, Jessica, took part in an engagement photo session
Warren H. Moore, 62, of Jonesboro, Ark. died Monday when he tried rescuing a woman who was having trouble staying afloat near the Gulf State Pier.
Vinson said another swimmer was able to pull the woman to shore and Moore's body was found floating in the water about an hour later by Alabama Marine Police.
On Monday night, Baldwin County sheriff's officials say they found 34-year-old Joshua Kimbrough of Bowling Green, Ky., on the Fort Morgan peninsula Monday night.
His body was recovered more than 24 hours after he disappeared in the surf. Kimbrough was last seen swimming Sunday afternoon in the Gulf at the Beach Club and was found at the nearby Martinique subdivision.
Vacationers sometime fail to recognize the danger of rip currents, which can pull swimmers underwater and out to sea even when the water appears relatively calm on the surface, Vinson said.
‘You don't see many locals out there swimming when it's like that,’ he said.
Family man: Joshua Kimbrough, 34, had been vacationing with his wife, Amanda (right), their two sons, Noah and 7-year-old Lucas (left), when tragedy struck
Joshua Kimbrough was last seen swimming Sunday afternoon at the Beach Club when he vanished in the water.
Passersby walking along the beach spied the 34-year-old victim's body on a sandbar just before 8pm Sunday.
Kimbrough had been vacationing with his wife, Amanda, their two sons, Noah and 7-year-old Lucas, and his in-laws when tragedy struck.
According to the victim’s grandmother, the 34-year-old father of two was in the water with his youngest son when he was pulled under by the rip current. The 7-year-old boy was unharmed.
Randy Kimbrough described her grandson as a hard worker who loved his family more than anything and was focused on his job as a Walmart co-manager.
'He loved swimming, he loved the ocean, and that is what’s so sad about this whole thing,' she told The Daily News.
Just after 3pm that day, Matthew Hattaway was pronounced dead at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley.
Deadly conditions: The four deaths took place over a two-day period on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama
Hattaway's family, among them his mother and youngest brother, Jacob, were devastated by the news of the man's untimely death.
'I lost my best friend,' Jacob Hattaway told Shreveport Times. 'I still haven’t believed it yet, it’s still so surreal.'
Precautions: Gulf Shores officials on Monday posted double red flags on all beaches in the city. They were re-opened Tuesday under yellow-flag conditions
According to the victim's relatives, Mr Hattaway, a foreman at a Shreveport excavation company, was about to get married soon.
'He had everything lined up perfectly,' his grieving sibling said, calling Matthew a 'role model.'
Just after 6.30pm Sunday, 51-year-old John Hogue was pronounced dead on the beach after his body was pulled from the water off South Sea Circle.
The victim’s longtime friend Tim Doughty said that Hogue was vacationing in Alabama with his wife, Pam, and their two children.
Doughty described his deceased friend, who worked as an information technology project manager at Spring Nextel Corp, as a 'self-made man.'
'From a kid who had nothing, he put himself through school and he built up a family with his wife and his two kids. He would dote on his children,' Doughty told The Wichita Eagle.
The final chapter of the tragic saga that unfolded on Gulf of Mexico beaches came at around noon Monday, when 62-year-old Warren Moore was pulled under as he attempted to rescue a female relative who was caught in the riptide west of the Gulf State Pier near Royal Palms condo.
Another person was able to pull the woman safely to shore, while Moore's body was found floating in the water about an hour later.