OCEAN CITY — Five individuals were taken to an area hospital and a sixth was flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore on Monday afternoon after being rescued from a rip current and heavy surf on the beach at 33rd Street.
Treacherous surf conditions resulted in a major scare on the beach at 33rd Street on Monday when two children swimming in the ocean were caught in a rip current in the storm-tossed sea ironically one day after the Ocean City Beach Patrol shut down operations for the season. Four adult males entered the water to come to the aid of the children struggling against the rip current and became distressed as well.
Around 4:15 p.m. on Monday, emergency responders from the Ocean City Fire Department, the Beach Patrol and the Ocean City Police Department responded to the beach at 33rd Street for a reported water rescue in progress. According to witnesses who contacted Ocean City Communications, two children were swimming and became caught in a rip current. Ocean conditions were deemed extremely dangerous with heavy surf and rip currents as the remnants of the nor’easter that hammered the shoreline all weekend still lingered.
Four adult males rushed to the aid of the children, but quickly found themselves in distress. Within minutes of the call, numerous first responders arrived on the scene and brought all six swimmers back to shore. Five of the victims, including the two children, were transported to Atlantic General Hospital via Ocean City EMS. One adult male victim was transported via Maryland State Police helicopter to Shock Trauma in Baltimore where he was listed in stable condition.
“This was a frightening incident and an alarming example of why you should not swim without a lifeguard on duty,” said Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald. “The ocean is unpredictable and the current conditions are dangerous for even the strongest swimmers.”
With the passage of Sunfest weekend, the Ocean City Beach Patrol is now off duty until May 2016. Residents and visitors are reminded to never go in the ocean without the supervision of a lifeguard and knowledge of the current conditions.
“We are urging people not to take the risk and stay out of the water in all circumstances,” said Theobald. “In other words, the Beach Patrol is off duty so do not swim. Period.”