College Honor Student on Spring Break in Florida Drowns Trying to Save Little Boy in Rip Tide

Layne Gravois, 21, died a hero while trying to rescue a little boy who was drowning.

Layne Gravois, of Louisiana, was part of a human chain dozens of people long that was formed to try to save a child who was caught in a dangerous riptide. The chain broke about 50 people down the line. He was rushed to a hospital, but could not be saved.

A 21-year old Louisiana college student drowned while trying to rescue a child from a dangerous rip tide while he was vacationing with friends in Florida on Spring Break.

The tragedy took place at Miramar Beach on April 8. The Walton County Sheriff’s closed waters in the county after more than a dozen people were pulled from the Gulf of Mexico that day due to extremely dangerous conditions of high surf and riptides, according to a statement from the Walton County Sheriff’s Department.

Layne Gravois, of Gray, Louisiana, ran in to try and save the little boy who had been in distress when the rip currents pulled him in, Gravois's mother, Kristi Gros Gravois, told CBS affiliate WWL-TV. A friend of Gravois told ABC affiliate WBRZ that Layne was part of a chain about 60 to 70 people long — and that things took a chaotic turn when the chain broke about 50 people down the line. Layne was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“He only went into the water to try and save him,” Kristi Gros Gravois said about her son, who was a junior honor student at Louisiana State University, where he was studying electrical engineering. He was described by friends and loved ones as a “selfless” and “genuine” person.

“Amazing son, athlete – loved football, baseball. Loved fishing, traveling, being with friends and family. He was the absolute best and we were blessed with him," his mother said.

Jordan Servat and Reed Boudreaux, both students at Nicholls State University, were also injured during the rescue and were hospitalized, according to a Nicholls State University spokesperson, WWL reported. 

Another man, later identified as 55-year-old Kim McGrady, also died by accidental drowning on the same day near Miramar Beach while trying to save three people from a rip tide, People reported. 

McGrady, of Dunwood, Georgia, was at the beach with his family when he drowned. A GoFundMe page has been organized in his memory that has raised $127,905 of their $250,000 goal.

“During his life, Kim was humble and truly a man of integrity. He always put his family first and wanted to be the best man he could for them. Even after his death he is helping others by donating his organs. Kim will be missed by all who knew him,” according to the GoFundMe page.

The Walton County Sheriff’s department expressed their condolence to the grieving families and cautioned others to follow the flag system.

“This is a difficult post for us. We know there are families still grieving. But, we're begging visitors to please continue to educate themselves regarding the flag system. We will continue to do our part,” said the statement.

“During these water rescues, the flags stand at single red which indicates the water is an incredible threat to human life with high surf and strong rip currents. Know that just because we cannot keep you out of the Gulf during single red, does not mean you should be in it. Mother nature can be very unforgiving,” the statement said.

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