Tourist Drowns During Colin

Jun 8, 2016

A tourist at St. George Island drowned during Tropical Storm Colin earlier this week. A sheriff deputy found Sandra Gnezda receiving CPR from a first responder and emergency medical services at 7:02 p.m. on Monday, June 6, according to the police report.

First responders sent Gnezda to Weems Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Franklin County Emergency Management Director Pamela Brownell says when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, residents are prepared but tourists often aren’t as cautious.

“We live with this on a day to day basis all year long,” Brownell says. “But when our tourists come in, I just wish that they would heed the advice of the officials when they tell them this is not a good idea, or you need to go.”

According to the report, Gnezda was with two men during the storm, including her husband. Emergency medical services treated them both.

The officer escorted Gnezda’s husband and daughter to Weems Memorial while the other man went to Bay Memorial for water inhalation.

Brownell says the entire community is upset by the events but is trying to move forward with storm recovery.

She says debris washed up on roads at Alligator Point, which required law enforcement to barricade them. St. George Island roads also needed repair.

“Just be aware of your surroundings,” Brownell says. “When there’s storms coming, pay attention. Listen to the news. Listen to what’s going on. Follow the directions of your officials. When we tell you there’s a storm surge, or rip current, or you need to evacuate, you need to follow those orders. So you can come back and enjoy our county again.”