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Old 07-13-2009, 07:00 AM
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my family just got back from the Liberty of the Seas, and had some very sad news to report....they witnessed a drowning while spending the day at Orient Beach.....there was a couple (60ish?) there who had gone for a swim....they both got stuck in a strong rip tide and got into trouble, and apparently were calling for help for a while before anyone heard them....eventually a few people saw them, and my dad along with a few others jumped in to help....my dad said he grabbed the woman, and the tide was so strong that he was almost swept out himself....so he was able to rescue her, but the man went under before people could grab him....he was eventually brought out, entirely blue, and they unsuccessfully tried to revive him....apparently the level of medical assistance could have been better - i believe it was a mix of tourists and locals, all trying to do their best, though eventually an ambulance arrived....the woman was of course in hysterics, and it was a bit traumatic for everyone who saw it (i wasnt on the cruise, but just HEARING the story was traumatic)

they werent sure if the couple was alone, or if they had other friends/family members with them....its just scary how something like that can happen....i briefly googled for a news report, but didnt see anything (not that i expected to find anything)

i guess the point to take away from this are that you need to be careful when swimming in the ocean, especially in an area where the lifeguard system may not be as good as what you are used to.....people should also be aware of how to spot a rip tide (though you often cant see them), and how to react if caught in one (do NOT fight it...stay CALM, swim parallel to the shore, try to get peoples attention, and wait for it to let go of you).....i guess this is also an argument for travel insurance, because terrible things can happen when you least expect it (no, it wont bring him back, but it might make certain things go more smoothly for the woman as she deals with this tragedy)

need to keep the woman and their family in our prayers
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:59 AM
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That's terrible news, Mike. Your father is obviously a very courageous man.

I've always felt the waters around St. Maarten were troublesome. Once at the big public beach in Phillipsburg I was just a few feet from the shore and within a minute I was suddenly out about 25 feet without realizing it. I got back in and stayed on the sand the rest of the day.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:59 AM
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Mike, that is indeed tragic. I was going to mention how to get out of a rip tide but you did in the end of your post. Most people don't realize they can swim parallel to the shore until that get out of the rip tide and then would be able to swim closer to shore. But it sounds as this couple had been fighting the tide too long and had exhausted themselves. What a terrible thing to happen while on vacation.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:27 AM
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yeah, its a bit scary that my dad could have been dragged out too, but he is a cop so i guess it is in his nature to help....it was courageous for all the people to help, and too bad that they couldnt save him....i guess its hard to not panic when you feel the tide

it really is amazing how powerful the ocean is...im on Long Island, and basically grew up in the ocean, and know how you can be in one spot, and then 30 seconds later you are many yards further out.....we would usually try to put out stuff (towels, etc) near a lifeguard stand so it was easy to find....so we would swim for a bit, not paying attention, and then when it was time to come out you would walk towards the stand to find your stuff - only to realize that you had been swept down the beach and are actually a stand or two down from where you started.... fortunately being swept down the beach is just a bit annoying, as opposed to being swept out to sea
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:09 AM
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I'm glad your dad's ok. I wonder if they had the flags flying. They are suppose to have a red flag flying, but some might not know what it means. What a horrible thing to happen on your vacation. My prayers go out to the survivors. I've not seen anything in the news, either.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:37 AM
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Mike, I am glad your courageous Dad is alright. This is an awful thing to happen. Rip Tides are nothing to sneeze at. They should have had a warning flag if there were lifeguards. When we have a warning here they alert everyone. Still a few will not heed the warning and venture out resulting in drownings every year. A Rip Tide will knock even a heavy person off of their feet and take them out.

This is a sad tragedy.

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
They are suppose to have a red flag flying, but some might not know what it means.
Yes, they are supposed to have a red flag, if they had lifeguards. I think our lifeguards blow their whistles if someone goes beyond the edge. Jellyfish and moderate surf usually get a yellow caution flag. Rip tide conditions are usually a red no swimming flag. People need to realize that swimming in a tidal body of water is much different than a pool or lake. Just because it looks okay doesn't mean it is.

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Old 07-13-2009, 12:39 PM
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im not sure if they had any flags flying...they were obviously allowing people in the water, though

some of my family members said they thought it was a shark attack at first, judging by people's reaction
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:21 PM
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Like Dave said, they're lifeguards, if there were any, aren't like ours. Doubt there's much incentive for them to save tourists. I'm sure the couple felt as if they had been attacked, rip tides are so strong.
 
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