Lifeguards warn swimmers and surfers of strong rip currents

Regional News

If you’re planning on spending time at the beach today, you’re going to want to watch out for those dangerous and deadly rip currents.

A 68-year-old man died in a current in the outer banks of North Carolina, pulled from the water Sunday, the eighth such death in the state this week.

Days earlier, another North Carolina man died in a rip current, a father and his family swept away. The family saved, but 48-year-old Robbie Paterson perished.

Related: Weather Service: Expect a slightly weaker hurricane season

Patterson’s son Tyler tried to fight the waters to save his dad.

“There was only a yellow flag out that day – it can change in an instant,” Tyler said.

Surfers eventually got to Robbie Patterson to get him out, but it was too late – he died in the hospital days later.

Around the country as summer arrives and millions hit the beach, the power and danger of the ocean abounds. Even in shallow water, a five-year-old was reportedly only up to his knees when a rip current took him. 

Experts say to swim parallel to the shore if you do get caught, and then at an angle away from the current once you’re out of its pull.

Rip currents account for 80 percent of rescues made by beach lifeguards according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association. They say to never swim alone, and if in doubt, don’t go out.

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