ST. JOHN PARISH, La. (WVUE) - A teenager from St. John the Baptist Parish lost the fight for her life in the hospital after a near-drowning accident in Florida.
Jayla Tassin, 19, died on Monday (July 22). She was on a vacation with her family in Orlando when they took a day-trip to Daytona Beach, according to Parish President Natalie Robottom.
“Although she was a great swimmer, Jayla was no match for the rip current that pulled her underwater in a moment’s notice,” Robottom said. “Subsequently, a large wave swept her out and under deeper water. Despite a valiant effort to save her, Jayla never recovered.”
Tassin is a graduate of East St. John High School in May and was scheduled to leave for the University of Louisiana Lafayette on Aug. 18, Robottom said.
Her father, Bernard Tassin, said the trip was to celebrate Jayla and her brother before they went off to school. The whole family was in the water when Bernard Tassin noticed his daughter was gone.
“My daughter went into the water. Nobody seen her, nobody heard her," Bernard Tassin said. “A rip current came under and she had to panic. She lost all ability to fight.”
Peggy Joseph said the thought of the fear her granddaughter must have felt is too much to bear.
“I’m wondering what was going on in her head," Joseph said. “What was going on under that water? Did she cry out for us and we wasn’t there?”
Bernard Tassin said a woman found Jayla in the water and brought her to shore. But it was too late.
“Her body was lifeless,” he said. "We did CPR on her and to no avail and paramedics showed up. They put the oxygen on her, they took her away to the hospital.”
Jayla stayed in the hospital for several days, but in the end, did not make it out.
“She fought. I know she fought," Bernard Tassin said.
And her family is left heartbroken.
“I’ve cried so much I don’t think I even have tears left in my body,” Bernard Tassin said.
“There’s no doctor that can treat this pain,” Joseph said.
Jayla planned on majoring in nursing and had dreams of becoming an OBGYN. Her family said they will always remember her for her big personality: Talkative, independent, opinionated and loving.
With the untimely tragedy of his daughter’s death, Bernard Tassin said he will always cherish their last moments -- including one he said was the proudest of his life -- her high school graduation.
“That day I danced with my baby, and I didn’t care who was looking. I don’t have rhythm, I didn’t care that day. That was one of the happiest moments in my life, seeing her receive her diploma," he said.