OCEAN CITY — A teenager lost his life while swimming in the ocean last Friday, marking the second such ocean fatality in the last two weeks in Ocean City.
Around 2 p.m. last Friday, a call for a submerged swimmer was broadcast from 92nd Street. The Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) and members of the Ocean City Fire Department responded for a water rescue attempt.
According to the initial report, a 17-year-old man, who has not been identified by authorities yet, was caught in a rip current and consequently became submerged.
An Ocean City Beach Patrol Surf Rescue Technician was the first to enter the water but was later assisted by multiple public safety entities because the teen could not be located.
The water rescue included approximately 30 rescue swimmers, from the OCBP and OCFD as well as personnel from the Ocean City Police Department, United States Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resource Police and Maryland State Police. In addition, OC Air Show performer Sean Carroll in his Yak 9 assisted on the scene.
The victim was treated on scene by Ocean City EMS personnel and then transported to Atlantic General Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.
Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this tragedy, according to witnesses on the scene.
This most recent death came less than two weeks after 18-year-old Dan Pen Soh Boma of Burtonsville, Md. died off 137th Street after he became caught in a rip current. Two other individuals were rescued, but Boma, who was reportedly a non-swimmer, was able to be immediately located. He was finally pulled from the ocean after being submerged at least 20 minutes.
Both deaths occurred while the OCBP was on duty. Prior to this summer, the last time an on-duty death was recorded by the OCBP was in 2007.
According to NOAA, rip currents are strong narrow currents moving away from shore. The strongest rip currents can attain speeds reaching eight feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint. On average, more people die every year from rip currents than from shark attacks or lightning.
In a press release issued after last Friday’s tragedy, Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters advised, “… the Ocean City Beach Patrol reminds beachgoers to check in with the lifeguard on duty every time you come to the beach. The lifeguard will inform you of current conditions in your area of the beach, including signs of inclement weather, rip currents and dangerous shorebreaks.”