Family remembers brothers who drowned off Orange Beach - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Family remembers brothers who drowned off Orange Beach

Family members provided these photos of drowning victims Josh Spencer  and Steward Spencer III. Family members provided these photos of drowning victims Josh Spencer and Steward Spencer III.

A Louisiana family's trip to Orange Beach turned tragic this weekend as two teenage brothers drowned in the Gulf of Mexico near Perdido Pass.

The family tells FOX10 News they are mourning two terrible losses. Brothers Josh Spencer, 12, and Steward Spencer III, were recovered Saturday morning. We're told Steward died trying to save his little brother.

The boys' aunt tells us a big wave pushed Josh under the water and Steward sent his cousin, who was also in the water, to get help. Steward went under to save his brother but neither resurfaced. 

"My grandsons were two beautiful individuals," said their grandmother, Evangelist-Gwen Spencer. "They were very loving. They were very kind. They were very respectful."

Lt. Steve Brown with Orange Beach Police Department said the brothers went under the water west of Perdido Pass near the Perdido Beach Resort early Friday evening. 

Police say the body of the 12-year-old boy was found around 6:30 Saturday morning. Around 7:45 a.m. the body of his older brother was found.

Crews had searched the Gulf for about 12 hours. 

Friday night, Brown said, "The family arrived this afternoon in Orange Beach from Louisiana to vacation, and once they got settled they went down to the beach and of course, the boys went into the water, and apparently one was in distress, or both were in distress, and witnesses say they saw them go under and not surface.” 

Multiple agencies including the Coast Guard, Daphne Search and Rescue and the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, searched in the water and in the air for hours. Several boats were in the water with large lights looking for the boys. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the two swimmers in this difficult time,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Trevor Blount, search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Mobile. “We appreciate all the support provided by our state, local and industry partners in the search effort.”

FOX10 News was told another sibling may have been in the water with the two around the same time, but made it out.

The red warning flags were up Friday because there was a high rip current risk, but the cause of the drownings has not yet been determined, Brown said. The family says they were unaware of the danger of rip currents or the red flags. 

A family member said a GoFundMe account has been set up for funeral expenses. If you would like to donate, CLICK HERE.   

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