Family speaks out after tourist dies at New Smyrna Beach: 'One minute you're here, and one minute you're gone'

Two sisters visiting New Smyrna Beach from Louisiana were found unresponsive in the water on Labor Day. 

Volusia County Beach Safety said the two were near the Beachway Approach when they were found 50-100 feet from each other, floating. Both sisters were originally found with no pulse. On the way to the hospital, one sister regained a pulse. 

The other, however, did not.

Lorraine Chesson, was pronounced dead at the hospital.


Her sister Shana Clare told FOX 35 News it was supposed to be a fun holiday weekend for the two. Clare said Chesson was in Florida visiting her son who lives here. Chesson and Clare's other sister, Betty drove from Louisiana to pick up Chesson and take her back to Louisiana.

"They just went to the beach, just to have a Labor Day weekend. We still don't have the whole story about everything," Clare said.

Captain A.J. Miller with Volusia County Beach Safety told FOX 35 News the drownings were classified as "unwitnessed," meaning no one saw what led up to the incident.

"One minute you're here, and one minute you're gone," Clare said.

She describes her two sisters as kind-hearted.

"She would do anything for anybody. She's on the phone 'Well, I'll do what I can.' Betty was the same way," Clare said.

Clare does wish her sisters paid more attention to the water conditions before they went in.

"When you're at the beach please be aware of the riptides," she said. "You know, it's hard. It's hard, it really is. Losing a family member and the other one holding on."