COCOA BEACH, Florida – 16 swimmers across Brevard County, 11 of which were in Cocoa Beach, Florida, had to be rescued by lifeguards due to dangerous rip currents off of Florida’s Space Coast.
A cluster of the rescues occurred at the International Palms Resort outside of lifeguard zones. Lifeguards from nearby Lori Wilson Park rushed to the scene out of their zones to save lives.
At least two of those swimmers had to be rushed to the hospital with life-threatening medical conditions. A woman from Oklahoma was later pronounced deceased. However, the details related to all 16 patients could not be disclosed by Brevard County Ocean Rescue.
“Needless to say, we have been very busy today,” Brevard County Ocean Rescue Eisen Witcher said. “We will be flying red flags throughout the weekend due to dangerous surf conditions and rip currents.
Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties, and piers. Remember to swim near a life guard and do not swim alone. Ask the beach patrol about ocean hazards when you arrive at the beach.
If you become caught in a rip current – do not panic – but yell for help. Remain calm and do not exhaust yourself. Stay afloat while waiting for help. If you have to swim out of a rip current, begin to swim parallel to shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, begin to swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current. Even a strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.