A couple drowns in a Florida rip current while vacationing with their children, authorities say

A Pennsylvania couple drowned after being swept away by a rip current Thursday off the coast of Hutchinson Island, Florida, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

The couple went for a swim Thursday afternoon with two of their teens when they got into trouble while in the water, authorities said.

The sheriff’s office identified 51-year-old Brian Warter and his partner 48-year-old Erica Wishard as the victims. They were traveling with three children each and were part of a family of eight vacationing in Florida, the sheriff’s office told CNN affiliate WPEC.

“They stepped right into a riptide according to our witnesses and were immediately taken over by the power of the ocean,” Chief Deputy John Budensiek told CNN affiliate WPBF.

The teens were able to break free of the current and attempted to help the adults, but when it became too dangerous they were forced to swim ashore, the sheriff’s office said in a release.

“They are teenagers. They’re not even in their 20s yet. They’ve been through two dramatic scenarios,” Budensiek told WPEC.

Despite efforts by the Martin County Ocean Rescue, paramedics and doctors at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital, the couple could not be saved.

The children were under the watch of the Martin County Sheriff’s Crisis Intervention Team as they waited for other family members to arrive in Florida.

“They’re on the beach and watched them (the parents) drown. They watched the resuscitation efforts on the beach. They were at the hospital watching some resuscitation efforts, so they’re extremely traumatized,” Budensiek added, according to WPEC.

Rip currents are localized currents that flow away from the shoreline toward the ocean, and a person caught in it, even a very strong swimmer, can be swept away from the shore very quickly, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The United States Life Saving Association says rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars and near structures such as jetties and piers, and account for more than 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards.

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