OCEAN CITY — An 18-year-old man lost his life in the ocean last night after he and a group went swimming near the Inlet jetty after the Ocean City Beach Patrol had called it a day. The fatality is the third ocean-related death this season and the first to occur when lifeguards were not on duty.
Shortly after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, Ocean City Communications received a call for a swimmer in distress in the Inlet. First responders were immediately dispatched to the area, including Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) rescue swimmers. In addition, several off-duty beach patrol employees were the first to the scene, arriving only minutes after the call.
According to witnesses, an 18-year-old male victim appeared to be stuck in a rip current and was having difficulty getting back to shore. Witnesses stated that at one point the victim was overtaken by a wave, submerged and did not resurface.
Ocean City Beach Patrol Surf Rescue Technicians (SRT) and OCFD rescue swimmers began a search of the area and located the victim approximately 13 minutes after the initial call. The victim was treated on scene by EMS personnel and then transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
“As we enter into a very busy weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol reminds beachgoers to keep your feet in the sand until a lifeguard is in the stand. Due to the tropical storm activity, which is normal for this time of year, causing larger surf and increased rip current activity, swimming restrictions are likely to be put in effect. In addition, beach patrons should swim in front of a lifeguard and always check with a lifeguard to learn about the current ocean conditions,” Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters said.