Man drowns after rescuing girl from Grand Isle beach undertow

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by Katie Urbaszewski / Houma Courier

wwltv.com

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 10:59 AM

GRAND ISLE, La. - A young Montegut man drowned at a Grand Isle beach over the weekend, authorities said.

The undertow took Desmond Van Buren, 22, near a rock jetty, and firefighters and paramedics were able to recover his body soon after.

Firefighters and Grand Isle State Park officials got the call Saturday afternoon and began searching for him in the water by foot and by boat. He floated to the surface about minutes into the search, and responders brought him to shore to and performed CPR, fire and park officials said.

"But he didn't make it," Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey Chiasson said.

Desmond was at the beach with Cheryl LeBouef's 15-year-old daughter and 20-year-old niece, LeBouef said.

LeBouef said her daughter was originally caught by the undertow and Van Buren went after her to save her. She survived, but then the undertow caught him, according to LeBouef.

LeBouef said she was grieving over Van Buren's death and was grateful that he saved her daughter's life.

"When I get to heaven, I'll thank him personally," she said. "My prayers and thoughts will always be with the family."

Grand Isle's beaches are not supervised by lifeguards, and signs warn beach-goers to swim at their own risk.

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