19-Year Old Drowns In Perdido River

June 30, 2012

[Updated] A young man drowned in the Perdido River Friday evening near Cantonment.

The incident happened off River Annex Road near Adventures Unlimited about 7:30 p.m.

John Grace, 19, was wading across the river with his family when he apparently stepped into a deep spot and disappeared below the surface.

The Molino and Cantonment stations of Escambia Fire Rescue were among those that responded and began a search for the Grace.  Molino first responders launched boat from the Pipes Landing on Old Bridge Road. Their efforts to locate the him were unsuccessful.

Grace’s body was recovered by divers from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office just over three hours later.

Pictured top: A 19-year old’s body was recovered from the Perdido River Friday night, about three hours after he was last seen. Photo courtesy WEAR for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


32 Responses to “19-Year Old Drowns In Perdido River”

  1. Miranda on July 8th, 2012 4:54 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the young man who drowned. Does anyone know the name of the gentleman who rescured the child that was saved in this accident? This child is my sister’s grandchild and she would like to thank the gentleman personally, as she is so thankful for his kindness which helped to save her grandchild’s life. If not for his quick action this could have been a double tragedy.

  2. River Go'er on July 3rd, 2012 1:43 pm

    Don’t blame Dave! Anyone who goes to the river is responsible for their own saftey! I feel for this young man’s family, but this is not to be blamed on Dave closing a door. How should he respond to “someone just drown.”?

  3. BentStraight on July 2nd, 2012 11:14 am

    This weeks news . . .Family fun at the river turned into instant tragedy . . . family fun jet skiing at the beach turns into tragedy . . . A short car trip to meet Grandma turns into a terrible life threatening traffic accident . . . someone leaves a gun unattended with a toddler in the house, instant tragedy. Tragedy is no respecter of persons, young or old, PLEASE exercise caution in all you do, especially on this 4th of July celebration. And never take for granted the safety of your loved ones because tragedy, unavoidable or not can strike in the blink of an eye!
    My prayers and condolences for the grieved and injured.

  4. Atmore Lady on July 2nd, 2012 10:46 am

    I do not know anyone that was involved in this accident but I am certainly sending up prayers for each and everyone one. Especially the young mans family.

  5. Tina on July 2nd, 2012 6:26 am

    Glad to be informed that this is how he thinks of his customers and wants to “slam” a door in someones face that needs help.
    We all ( friends & family) had many plans for the summer to go there but WILL NOT be going there as of now, we will find another place to go have our fun.
    I hope that everyone in the community backs away from supporting him!!
    I wonder if ole Dave even realizes that its the people of the community that supllies income to his household. Wonder who will support this man’s family now?
    What a shame to treat people like this and to slam a door in someones face??
    Shame SHAME SHAME! :(

  6. Dad of 3 on July 2nd, 2012 12:33 am

    its not the fact he has to open his door because he doesn’t, its the fact that the comment said he slamned the door in their face after knowing there was an accident, that should be illegal if you know something bad has happened and its a life or death situation, if you dont open your door then you may never know but to open the door and know and slam it in someones face ? So yes I can see why some are blaming him although its not his fault he certainly made the decision NOT to help. I dont see how anyone can say stop blaming, it is to blame it would be no difference than a doctor walking past a person bleeding to death and he kept walking because he is retired and dont want to get involved, there may have been something he could have done in a time of desperity, the man is down there allowing people to park there and even charging, seems he could have helped someone in need or made a phone call since he did open the door and knew there was an accident. Since I was not there I dont know all the facts, it doesnt matter its too late but everyone is accountable for what they say and do. As for plenty of people with cell phones, not everyone has a cell phone and if someone did it may have dead from the heat or whatever or the fact everyone was in a panic they of course ran for help to a house close by, I could not ever slam the door in someones face like that, I prob would not have opened the door to a stranger but i could have yelled ” ok what is wrong, ok im dialing 911 now help is on the way ” instead of slaming the door in someones face after i found out what happened. I will be glad when people stop saying leave dave and his family alone, its called people are MAD because of someone that may could have done SOMETHING did NOTHING if this is all true.

  7. 429SCJ on July 1st, 2012 7:11 pm

    Dave has been recovering from serious burns recieved in an accident last year.
    He has undergone several skin graft surgeries and still works long hot hours when he should be convalesing. I would imagine the family was proably down for the count when whoever knocked on the door awoke them.

    I do not know what was communicated or how it was percieved. I do know the Vinns to be nice people, I have used their facility for over 12 years and have only recieved help and courtesy from the Vinn family. I feel this may have been miscomunnication in an emotional, highly charge situation. Prayers for the Grace Family.

  8. Just saying on July 1st, 2012 1:40 pm

    I rented a Conoe from Dave yesterday (Sat). I’ve done it for years and have seen some of the riff that goes on the river. I wouldn’t open my door if I didn’t.know who it was if that did happen. As many people is down on the river I’m sure there was a dozen or more cell phones available to call for help. There alott of conoes, life jackets, and tubes that are there as well that is not locked up. So please stop trying to blame Dave and his family. God be with this young guys family!!!

  9. just saying on July 1st, 2012 12:47 pm

    I think its more a matter of compassion that everybody has issues with Dave. Im sure he does have ppl knocking on his door but that is also something he should consider before letting ppl park where he lives. I would hope that everyone on here would have the compassion to help someone in need no matter what the situation. When ppl panic they dont think clearly and they just want help, natural thing to do would be go to a near by house. If he doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone maybe he shouldn’t allow ppl on his property, he dont mind charging you to park but he minds helping out a desperate family in need, there is the problem. Seems not many ppl have compassion any more.

  10. Mary on July 1st, 2012 9:17 am

    Leave Dave & his family alone.. I agree when you enter the river water you should know you are doing it @ your own risk!!

  11. mnon on July 1st, 2012 8:49 am

    Totally unfortunate for this family, you are in my prayers as well.

    As for the “Dave situation” he could have called the police and rescue. With that said I do not blame him for closing his door. Living on the river I’m sure he has seen his fair share of drunks and meth-heads and probably not the first time someone has banged on his door for something. I would not have opened my door either, but I would have called 911 and let them know there’s been an accident on the river. Maybe he did call? No one has said he didn’t… and if cellphones were working to call 911 to begin with, why bother the man? It is like a few other commenters have said, I’m sure he is not equipped to launch a rescue operation. Maybe that could be something to look into though? Put an emergency box outside with rope and a float ring, etc. Just something to think about… it would not have done any good in this situation, but it would be something to put around someone that is willing to get out in the current and look. People now-a-days are quick to point fingers and lay blame on others, it is easier to blame everyone else than take the responsibility yourself.

  12. 429SCJ on July 1st, 2012 6:59 am

    This was a sad misadventure. The river is public property and not under the control of any private citizen. Mr Vinn allows parking on his property, but when people leave his property and enter the public domain of the river, they are beyond Mr Vinn’s control and they have to asssume personal responsibility for themselves.

    Dave is not equipped for search and rescue operations on the river. The logical thing to have done would have been to alert EMS so that the EC search and rescue team could be brought into play. Dave has no more control over the Perdido River than you or I, please stop blaming him and his family for this tragedy.

  13. Mrs. Cayson on July 1st, 2012 12:28 am

    Just so heart wrenching. My heart goes out to his family and all who knew him.
    So sorry that this has happend to one so young.

  14. lindsey on June 30th, 2012 11:02 pm


  15. perdidokid on June 30th, 2012 10:37 pm

    wel if the fire departments cudnt find him, then how wud Dave b able?? Jus b thankful he even let’s people swim there! its not his fault if people have an accident…

  16. darlene on June 30th, 2012 9:55 pm

    Praying for this young man’s family. His loss is tragic, but, thankfully, wasn’t compounded by a loss of the child he pushed to safety.

    As for Dave and his family…that river has provided for that family for a long time. If they don’t want to be bothered by people, he should move his family to some remote location. I pray its never one of his loved ones in need of help and doors are slammed in his face. Dave, show some compassion for the people that keep your business afloat.

  17. SandyCreek on June 30th, 2012 8:26 pm

    @ rivergirl you seem like you have a true heart and If someone was this awful I also hope the river shall haunt this person who turned their back. It would be nice if people would avoid this area and not supply this person with extra income. Maybe since some people talk about problems down there somthing can be done.

  18. Randy on June 30th, 2012 4:54 pm

    I was down at the river yesterday and was there right after it happened it was a horrible thing. I guess God was ready for him and so he took him . God bless there family

  19. Fl Res on June 30th, 2012 4:40 pm

    This is a horrible tragedy and I am praying for this young mans family and friends, this completely breaks my heart, I took my family to this river a couple days ago for the first time and there were quite a few drop offs you would not know was very deep and over your head and seemed to be like sink holes, God bless this mans family. I was very skeptical about letting my 15 yr old daughter that can swim go down the river with her friends without me and she did talk me into it and something like this can happen to anyone, it is an accident and so very sad, I will not let her go back down the river without me ever again, this is a wake up call and should be, you never know what is under that water or how deep it is if you cant see the bottom.

  20. barrineau on June 30th, 2012 3:12 pm

    My prayers go out to the Family of this young man.Like a lot of locals ,I love this river and frequent the many spots to visit on Perdido it is a beautiful and yet dangerous place.

  21. molino jim on June 30th, 2012 1:11 pm

    @ River Girl— now I understand.

  22. molino jim on June 30th, 2012 12:26 pm

    @ Mary— I’m with you and fail to understand the comment from “River Girl”.

  23. jennyRae0209 on June 30th, 2012 12:20 pm

    My family & friends were there when the whole situation unfolded.
    First, there was not alcohol OR drugs involved. Since just moving to the area a few months ago from Alabama, they did not know the river and the deep dropoff holes it contains. They managed to wade across to the sandbar (Alabama side across from Dave’s) safely. He was in the water facing the sandbar with his back toward Dave’s playing with one of the children. He was walking backwards and stepped straight off into the dropoff hole and immediately went under. He managed to push the child up to try to prevent her from drowning while a family friend swam and rescued her.
    NUMEROUS people attempted repeatedly to try to find him & help pull him from the river, with no success.
    When someone went across the street to Dave’s house and knocked on the door to notify him that there was an emergency situation and someone was drowning, he literally slammed the door in their face. Never ONCE did he, his wife, nor his son try to do ANYTHiNG to help. Yes, Dave is a RUDE and INCONSIDERATE person who will have to answer to what he failed to do.

  24. mary on June 30th, 2012 9:44 am

    @ Rivergirl..how were Dave’s wife & son disrespectful?? It is sad s[ecially since just moving to the area

  25. tiffany on June 30th, 2012 9:36 am

    praying for the family…if alcohol was a factor, it does not matter. there are many people drinking and swimming on the river every day

  26. angi on June 30th, 2012 8:59 am

    They have not released any name yet. Praying for his family.

  27. River Girl on June 30th, 2012 8:57 am

    This young man was with his family. He had his wife or girlfriend & 3 young children with him. Its a very say situation. May God be with his family. They just moved here 3 months ago.

    - & as far as Dave’s goes.. may his wife and son be punished for the rest of their lives for being so disrespectful to the woman and children!

  28. Mary on June 30th, 2012 8:08 am

    I love the river! I started going to the Barrineau Park Bridge till the drinking turned into fighting so they closed it down. Then every1 started going to what the “locals” were calling “Daves” which is Adventures Unlimited..Dave is nice enough to charge a “parking fee” just so you can swim since across the river is Alabama there is numerous problems w/alcohol in that location in the past few yrs. This area has a beautiful river & we are going to lose all access to it if people dont straighten up! YES PRAYERS TO THE FAMILY!!!!

  29. cygie on June 30th, 2012 7:07 am

    if alcohol was involved, would that make the loss any less? I sure hope he was saved!

  30. 429SCJ on June 30th, 2012 5:56 am

    Amen OH SOO.

  31. danny on June 30th, 2012 5:33 am

    im there swiming every weekend had to pull a few people to safety but its a reel good spot there are some deep holes out there yall be safe prying for his family and freinds

  32. oh sooo sad on June 30th, 2012 4:15 am

    Omg!! This is awful! My children & I swim there frequently, I sure hope alcohol wasn’t involved!!! Praying for his family ;(

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