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Hartselle woman dies in Florida swimming accident

A Hartselle woman has apparently died from injuries she received when she was caught in turbulent waters off the shores of Panama City Beach, Fla.

Sonia Westmoreland, 42, of Hartselle died at 2:38 p.m. in a Florida hospital, according posts from her friends on Facebook. Numerous other Facebook users posted on her page sympathy and condolence messages to the family.

The News-Herald in Panama City, Fla., reported Tuesday that she was pulled from the water Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The dangerous rip currents along the beaches caused the beaches to be closed on Monday.

The newspaper also said Westmoreland dove into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to rescue her daughter and two other teenage girls.

“According to witnesses, the three teenagers were caught in a rip current, and Westmoreland and Erik Kenzer, a visitor from Washington, went into the water to help the girls. When Kenzer came out of the water with the three girls, he saw Westmoreland floating face down in the water,” the newspaper reported.

“After her rescue, an off-duty firefighter/EMT from Gainesville performed CPR until emergency crews arrived. According to the report, Westmoreland’s mouth was beginning to turn blue when the ambulance arrived.”

No current information is available on her funeral arrangements.

Check www.hartselleenquirer.com for more on this developing story.

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