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The Dangers of Rip Currents

By: Michelle Gielan Email
By: Michelle Gielan Email

For the family of ten year old Akira Johnson...a relaxing day at the beach turned tragic...
"There were two kids drowning. They took one out, by the time they noticed the girl was gone. She was just gone."
Little Akira wasn't alone, three other new york beach-goers drowned.
All a result of a strong rip current formed by storm systems in the Atlantic.
Rip currents are formed when water, wind and beach conditions combine to create rapidly moving channels of water that flow away from the shoreline, typically through narrow passages in a sandbar.
"It feels like you're being pulled out to sea, it's scary. What happens first, is the swimmer will try to fight the rip current, maybe panic, become distressed, and distress can turn into drowning."
The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that more then 100 deaths are caused by rip currents each year. Over 80 percent of beach rescues are a result of strong currents.
While researchers develop and improve the ability to predict the occurrence and strength of rip currents...flag systems and signs have raised awareness at American beaches.
But, with 100 lives a year still being lost and hurricane season creating choppy waters...remember "if in doubt...don't go out".


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