OCEAN CITY — An 18-year-old Montgomery County man died yesterday after being submerged for at least 20 minutes before lifeguards could locate him off 137th Street.
The identity of the man is not being disclosed by authorities at this time to allow for next of kin to be notified. His name should be released in short order.
Around 4:30 p.m. Monday, Ocean City Communications reported a water rescue in progress. According to the initial report, the man and two other swimmers entered the ocean and immediately became caught in a rip current. The individuals were reportedly not sound swimmers and witnesses on the scene reported they struggled immediately once losing their footing in the ocean, which was rough on Monday with larger than normal waves for Ocean City and strong currents.
An Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) surf rescue technician entered the water and was able to quickly rescue two of the swimmers but could not locate the third.
Fifteen rescue swimmers from the OCBP as well as the Ocean City Fire Department immediately began diving repeatedly to try and find the man. U.S. Coast Guard personnel were called in as was the Maryland State Police Trooper 4. Eventually, after 20 minutes, the man was found and brought ashore.
EMS crews immediately began CPR efforts while the other two swimmers watched nearby in an emotional state. The African-American man was transported by four-wheeler while CPR efforts continued to a waiting ambulance, which after several minutes with the victim inside left the scene for Atlantic General Hospital.
The Montgomery County man was officially pronounced dead soon after arriving at the hospital, according to officials.
In an informational article set to appear in Friday’s paper, OCBP Sgt. Ryan Cowder reports rip currents are the most deadly hazard every summer on the beach. He offered the following advice.
“Beach patrons should always consult with the surf rescue technician about ocean conditions including rip current activity and the best place to swim,” he said. “If you start to feel the effects of a rip current, do not panic, and to escape the pull of the rip current you should always swim parallel to shore and not try to fight the current. Once you no longer feel the pull you should swim back into shore (rip currents do not pull you under). People often make the mistake of swimming straight in against the current, getting tired and then beginning to panic. If you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation in the ocean, just wave your arms, and the surf rescue technician will assist you to safety. However, when people ignore our plea to never enter the ocean when the beach patrol is off-duty, they are making a potentially deadly mistake. The beach patrol is on duty daily in the summer from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.”