TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Strong ocean rip currents along the mid-Atlantic coast created hazardous swimming conditions on Tuesday after several deaths were reported and hundreds of other swimmers had to be rescued by lifeguards during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Rip current warnings issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect Tuesday from New York to North Carolina, and that agency also was urging swimmers to use extra caution and only swim in area where lifeguards were present. Swimmers were being kept out of the water in some areas due to very rough conditions or lifeguard shortages, or both.
The dangerous currents were spawned by the remnants of hurricanes Franklin and Idalia, officials said. They warned that people caught in a rip current can be swept away from shore very quickly and note the best way to escape is by swimming parallel to the shore instead of towards it.
At least three deaths were reported in New Jersey, including a 22-year-old man from the Dominican Republic who began struggling in the water off Beach Haven on Sunday while swimming with two other people, according to the Asbury Park Press. More than a dozen lifeguards formed a human chain as part of an effort to rescue the swimmers. Two of them were safely brought to land, but the third disappeared under the water and his body was found a few hours later.
Meanwhile, searchers continued to look Tuesday for the two other swimmers who went missing in New Jersey over the weekend. They were presumed dead.
A 31-year-old Maryland man who was last seen in the ocean off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, was found dead early Monday, local news outlets reported.
Efforts to revive a woman who got caught in strong waves along the Outer Banks in North Carolina were unsuccessful. WVEC-TV reported a witness saw the 28-year-old face down in the water before she was pulled to shore and later pronounced dead.
Officials also reported water-related deaths including a couple in New York and a person in Virginia. Details were limited as of Tuesday afternoon, and it was unclear if those deaths were related to rip currents.