Bystanders ‘risked their lives’ in N.C. drowning rescue attempt, officials say
Swimmers brought a 67-year-old woman to shore and off-duty nurses and a doctor started performing CPR before EMS providers arrived
The Charlotte Observer
OAK ISLAND, N.C. — Beachgoers swam into dangerous water to try to save a 67-year-old woman who was pulled out in a rip current off a North Carolina beach, rescuers said.
The woman from Tennessee died, but officials commended the public’s effort to help her during the June 14 drowning, the Oak Island Water Rescue said in a news release.
“Multiple beachgoers acted heroically today including those who risked their own lives by swimming out and bringing the victim to shore,” the OIWR said in the release. “Then there were the medical professionals (a doctor and nurses) who immediately began CPR once the victim was on the beach. They continued to provide care, even assisting the paramedics after their arrival.”
The initial call reported that two drowning victims may have been in the water, but rescuers discovered that only one person was in trouble, Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Peter Grendze told McClatchy News.
In addition to the bystanders, 14 OIWR members responded to the scene, Grendze said.
The rescue group thanked the citizens who tried to rescue the woman but discouraged untrained rescuers from attempting to help someone who was drowning, according to a release about the recent rip currents.
“These men took an extreme risk as 30% of rip current drownings are those attempting to rescue someone in a rip current,” the release said. “We know that in nearly every case, one or more persons will attempt a swimming rescue.”
Rip currents are “powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water” that can cause swimmers to panic and become fatigued, according to the National Ocean Service.
The rescue group advised swimmers to bring a boogie board or other flotation device into the water if a rescue attempt is made.
“Today was another difficult day on the beach …” the rescue group said. “We are thankful for the brave efforts of these beachgoers.”
©2022 The Charlotte Observer