Rip currents sweep 5 swimmers; 1 dead as lifeguards and EMS pulled them to shore

Ocean City Police squad car

OCEAN CITY, MD. (Sept. 17, 2014) — The Ocean City Beach Patrol and various emergency personnel responded to two unrelated water rescues this afternoon that occurred within blocks of each other, less than 30 minutes apart and in the process saved the lives of four people while one was pronounced dead.

The first swimmer in distress call came into Ocean City Communications at approximately 12:34 p.m. in the area of 17th Street and the beach.  Only minutes later, at approximately 12:50 p.m., a second call was received by dispatchers for assistance in the area of 20th Street and the beach.

The first rescue occurred after three swimmers entered the ocean in the area of 20th Street and the beach and became caught in a rip current, which resulted in them drifting toward the area 17th Street.  Upon observing swimmers in distress, Beach Patrol Surf Rescue Technicians (lifeguards) immediately entered the water and were able to reach all three of the swimmers.

Ocean City police and fire departments, including the OCFD’s rescue swimmers, also responded to assist. Two of the victims required medical attention and were transported to Atlantic General Hospital by Ocean City EMS. The first victim, a 19-year-old male, was transported with non-life threatening injuries; however, the second victim, a 52-year-old male victim from Huntingdon, PA, was pronounced deceased at approximately 1:30 p.m. at the hospital.

As the first incident was stabilized, SRTs responded to a separate water rescue in the area of 20th Street.  The second incident was also a result of a rip current. The two victims were brought back to shore by lifeguards and did not require medical attention.

In all, five victims were rescued. Due to rough surf and strong rip currents, swimming restrictions are currently in place. Beachgoers should check in with the lifeguard on duty every time you come to the beach and are reminded to keep your feet in the sand until a lifeguard is in the stand.  After Labor Day, lifeguards are strategically located along the 10 miles of Ocean City beaches with multiple mobile patrols on duty as well.

Ocean City officials ask that visitors to take the time to walk to and swim in front of the lifeguard. Lifeguard service continues until Sunday, September 21st.

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