Police are warning beachgoers of the dangers of swimming without lifeguards on duty after children were rescued during three different incidents at Atlantic City beaches within one week.
On Saturday at 5 p.m., police responded to the Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard beach for reports of several children in the ocean in need of help. Before police arrived, a Good Samaritan named Dijon Brooks entered the water and rescued a 4-year-old girl. The girl was taken to the hospital and evaluated. Two other Good Samaritans also rescued children in the water but were not identified.
On Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., police responded to the Virginia Avenue beach for a report of three children in the water. A Good Samaritan, Stephen Moore, of Clark Summit, Pennsylvania, went into the water to help two girls, ages 11 and 9, and an 8-year-old boy. Officers Ramir Hayes and Brian Victoria-Garcia arrived and heard Moore calling for help. Moore and the children were stuck on a sewage outfall pipe as waves crashed in.
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The officers rushed in to help and noticed Moore and the children were injured.
Officer Victoria-Garcia stayed on the pipe to help Moore while Officer Hayes grabbed the 11-year-old girl, put her on his back and carried her to the shore. Hayes then went back into the water and carried the 9-year-old girl to safety.
Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey, Brian Cain, a lifeguard, and Atlantic City firefighter BJ Hamilton were all off-duty doing maintenance work at a nearby lifeguard stand when they arrived at the beach. They then helped Officer Scott Crawford rescue the 8-year-old boy and Moore from the pipe.
The three children, three officers and Moore were all taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and lacerations caused by waves that crashed into them while they were on the pipe.
A third rescue also occurred at the Virginia Avenue beach on Thursday.
“There’s only so much warning we can do and we just respond when we’re called,” Chief Downey told NBC10.
While emergency response teams will be out to respond to emergencies, the Atlantic City Beach Patrol won’t begin patrolling beaches until Saturday, May 29, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“Obviously we understand due to the weather and lifting restrictions, we’re going to be a lot busier than normal this time of year,” Chief Downey said. “The past two weeks with weather being beautiful it’s been the most crowded we’ve seen this time of year.”
If you're planning on visiting the Jersey Shore, especially this weekend, make sure you swim near a lifeguard station.
Beware of rip currents which quickly push you away from the coast into deeper waters. If you're caught in a rip current, the best way to escape is to swim parallel to the coast. Once you're out of the current, you can safely make your way back toward the shore.