LONG BEACH, N.Y. — The heat may have prompted a group of teenagers to venture into the water off Long Beach on Thursday.
Five people had to be rescued.
They are lucky to be alive after they went swimming with no lifeguards on duty and got stuck in a rip current. Only because of an emergency crew of lifeguards on patrol are they all going to be okay.
The lifeguards who were working as a skeleton emergency crew were patrolling the beaches of Long Beach. Weekday lifeguard duty doesn’t begin until July, but they noticed five young people in distress, clearly stuck in a strong rip current.
They swam floatation devices to them and pulled them safely in. The rescues served as an important reminder that rip currents can be deadly and lifeguards are there for a reason.
“No one swims out to drown. They were trying to swim in and not making any headway. You could see the panic in their faces, and that’s when we hit the water,” said John Skudin, Long Beach lifeguard supervisor.
“The beach is not open for swimming when there are no lifeguards. We are asking people not to go in the water when there are no lifeguards. It really is a dangerous place as was proven today,” Long Beach City Manager Ron Walsh said.
Lifeguards say the area by the jetty is known to be bad for riptides, adding had they been on the chair stands, they would have moved the swimmers away, which is why it is so important to take notice if they are on duty and stay out of the ocean if they are not.
All five teens were taken to the hospital, but were to be released.
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