12686732055?profile=RESIZE_584xA memorial with a cross, angel statue, shells and plastic flowers is located in the dune not far from the pumping station at the Boynton Inlet. Coastal Star photo

Related: Lantana news brief: Lifeguards rescue two swimmers from rip current May 5

By Anne Geggis

A 56-year-old Boynton Beach woman drowned along an unguarded area on the northeast side of the Boynton Inlet on May 5 as a current ripped her away from an attempted rescue, according to a Manalapan police report.

Bystanders and police tried to revive Anna Lazur after she was pulled out of the water at about 12:30 p.m. that day. She was taken to Baptist Health Bethesda Hospital East in Boynton Beach in critical condition, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Her obituary has since appeared online and a makeshift memorial near where she drowned has sprung up.

Teresa Bowyer, 66, of Hobe Sound, was one of the two friends who went to the beach with Lazur that day. She can’t stop thinking about her friend, the mother of two sons, whom she called or saw almost every day.

“I didn’t want to go in because it was too rough,” Bowyer said. “Anna was a strong swimmer.”

Red flags, which indicate rip currents are present, were out across the inlet at Ocean Inlet Park at the time tragedy struck, one bystander said.

Bowyer said the other friend in her trio, Iwona Wroczynska, 64, of Hobe Sound, first went into the water after they noticed Lazur in distress. And then Bowyer said she saw Wroczynska struggling.

“A big wave came over and separated them,” Bowyer said.

Bowyer said she felt she had no choice but to try to reach Lazur. Going in the water, she found herself panicking.

“I was struggling,” she said.

Wroczynska made it back to shore on her own, but a bystander, Nathaniel Holt, 22, pulled back Bowyer, she said. And then he went to get Lazur.

On the beach, Lazur was unresponsive and a woman who told police she was a nurse, Veronica Jean-Louis, attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue arrived on the scene and took the patient to the hospital, the report says.

The report doesn’t mention rip currents, but the phenomenon has been blamed for eight deaths in Florida over four days in late June, according to The Weather Channel. These currents have proven fatal all over the state, mostly in the Panhandle’s Bay County, but also in Martin County.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes rip currents as powerful, fast-moving channeled currents that swimmers mistakenly try to resist by swimming straight back to the shore. Swimming parallel to the shore is a better strategy, according to NOAA.

Those are different from rip tides. Rip tides are caused by the swift movement of tidal water through inlets, estuaries and harbors, according to NOAA.

Bowyer said her other friend has sworn never to return to that stretch of the inlet, but she said she’s going because that’s where there’s a memorial to Lazur.

“I just can’t believe she’s gone,” Bowyer said.

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