Coast Guard searches for two men swept to sea by rip currents in South Florida

LOS ANGELES - A MH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Los Angeles conducts flight training just off the coast of San Pedro, Calif., March 18, 2012. Coast Guard aircrew members must constantly train together to keep their life saving skills sharp for the next mayday call. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers

USCG MH-65C file photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers

MIAMI – The Coast Guard is involved in two separate cases, each involving a male being swept to sea by rip currents in South Florida Saturday.

Coast Guard Sector Miami was notified of a 15-year old male who was swept to sea in North Palm Beach, Florida, near McArthur State Park. The Coast Guard quickly launched a Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 dolphin rescue helicopter crew along with two Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet smallboat crews to search.

Sector Miami was also notified of a 16-year old male was who swept to sea north of Fort Pierce inlet, Florida, offshore Vero Beach, Florida. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew along with a Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce smallboat crew are on scene and searching.

“I want to advise swimmers, surfers and beachgoers to exercise caution at local beaches as there is a high risk of rip currents,” said Capt. Michael Long, acting sector commander. “We continue to actively search alongside our partner agencies with hopes to bring the missing loved ones back to their families.”

Weather is reportedly three to six-foot waves with 20 knot winds which makes for dangerous swimming conditions in the surf zone.

A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Any object or person caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.

If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. The way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the 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 the current, as you can become easily exhausted, even if you are a strong swimmer.

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