VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) – Strong currents forced lifeguards to pull nearly 200 swimmers from the Atlantic Ocean over the holiday weekend in Virginia and North Carolina.
Chief Tom Gill of the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Service He told the Virginia-Pilot. He said the city’s more than 180 rescue operations were high even for a holiday weekend.
Three of the rescued swimmers were taken to hospitals for treatment of what appeared to be suffocation, Gill said.
Virginia Beach lifeguards were waving red flags to warn of dangerous waves. But because of the hot weather, it was difficult to get people out of the water, Gill said.
“It’s hot and people want to get in the water and they need to get in the water,” he said. “And we understand that.”
Authorities on North Carolina’s Hatteras Island reported 21 rescues over the weekend, the Pilot reported.
Rescue operations followed in Virginia and North Carolina. At least 10 people have died in the past month. Officials say Alabama and Florida were hit by a rip current in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rip waves cause more than 100 deaths a year United States Life Saving Association. So far this year, the National Weather Service He reported on the website As of July 1, 57 people have died in the US from rip currents.
A rip current is a powerful, narrow channel of water that runs away from the coast and often runs through the breakwater zone. They can appear regardless of the weather, and can quickly sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
“A hole stream, basically, water likes to go downhill. Daniel Noah, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Ruskin, Florida, said when waves hit the coast, they push inshore. “It’s trying to find the easiest way to get back into the water. And it’s going to find these broken channels and it can quickly get back into the Gulf or the ocean.”
“Water movement has a lot of power,” he added. “It’s dangerous for children, it’s dangerous for adults, it’s dangerous for vehicles.”
The Virginia-Pilot had previously reported that a person’s chances of drowning when swimming near a lifeguard were very low.
“Swim close to the stand, wear a life jacket if you’re not a good swimmer, know how to spot a rip,” Gill told the newspaper in 2019.