After numerous drowning accidents, dangerous surf backflows continue to exist on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
After numerous drowning accidents, dangerous surf backflows continue to exist on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts

REGARD: How to recognize and avoid life-threatening backwashes

Dangerous rip currents are expected to continue along much of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts on Sunday. At least eight people have drowned there since Thursday after being swept out to sea by the strong currents, officials said.

According to the National Weather Service, the chance of life-threatening rip currents is high on beaches along the Atlantic coast, including the Jersey Shore from Point Pleasant to Cape May. Dangerous rip currents are also forecast for Sunday on North Carolina beaches from Frisco to Emerald, according to the NWS.

High rip current warnings have also been issued for the Gulf Coast as the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto continue to churn up the waters.

A high risk warning means that the surf zone is dangerous for swimmers of all levels and beachgoers should avoid the water.

Moderate danger warnings have been issued for other parts of the Atlantic coast, with surf backwash likely. Swimmers are advised to stay near lifeguards and follow the advice of local beach patrols and flag warning systems.

“It’s a beautiful place, but they don’t realize how dangerous it can be. The ocean is strong and final when it gets you,” Chief Deputy John Budensiek of the Martin County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office told ABC affiliate WPBF in West Palm Beach after a Pennsylvania couple was caught in a rip current and drowned while swimming with their six children off Hutchinson Island off Florida’s east coast.

The bodies of the couple, identified as 51-year-old Brian Warter and 48-year-old Erica Wishard, were found by lifeguards about 300 to 350 feet offshore, the Martin County Fire Department said.

Authorities said Warter and Wishard were among eight people who drowned while swimming in the rough waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts since Thursday.

Three Alabama men visiting a Florida beach drowned Friday after swimming in the Gulf off Panama City Beach. The drownings came a day after a 19-year-old man drowned in the same area, authorities said.

In New York, the US Coast Guard called off the search for two boys aged 16 and 17 on Sunday. According to witnesses, they were apparently caught in a surf current in Jacob Riis Park in the New York borough of Queens and quickly swept into the Atlantic, said Deputy Police Commissioner Kaz Daughtry.

“The teenagers tried to jump up to cut through the wave. The wave was extremely high, it caught them and swept them away,” Daughtry said during a press conference.

Meanwhile, New York State Police said they had recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy who drowned while swimming in the Genesee River, a tributary of Lake Ontario near Caneadea, New York, on Thursday. Investigators said the teenager was swimming with a friend when he was swept away by the current.

The teenager’s body was recovered on Thursday after several search and rescue teams combed the river.