2 swimmers rescued from riptide

2 mins read

 By Mike McCombs 

Disaster was averted on Father’s Day as two swimmers being swept out to sea by the current off the south end of Harbor Island were rescued and returned to safety by members of the Fripp Island Sea Rescue. 

“Beaufort Dispatch paged us with a water emergency just before noon, and we launched Rescue 3 from the Fripp Marina at 12:11 p.m.,” Fripp Island Sea Rescue Communications Office Michael Beach said. “… Our rescue boat with two experienced crew members was able to round the north end of Harbor Island in the heavy weather by about (1 p.m.), find and recover the two adult swimmers in the Atlantic off the south end of Harbor Island and get them safely into our boat.” 

Tropical Storm Claudette was moving through the area with gale force winds and, according to Beach, there were particularly rough seas with high wind and rain coming back from the Harbor River Buoy to well within the new Harbor River Bridge. 

Initially, the swimmers were difficult to spot, but eventually, firemen spotted the pair with a “boogie board” between 300 and 400 yards off shore being swept out to sea. 

When they were reached, they told rescuers they were tired but fine, according to Beach. 

Because of the rough weather, Rescue 3 took the swimmers to Russ Point Landing on Hunting Island where EMS was standing by. The pair declined medical attention.

Rescue 3 was back at the Fripp Marina by 1:40 p.m.

Other agencies involved included Beaufort Dispatch, Beaufort Water Search and Rescue, Fripp and Lady’s Island fire departments and U.S. Coast Guard. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources was notified, as well.

“It was an excellent outcome with the two persons returned safely to Harbor Island that afternoon,” Beach said.

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