Rip currents were blamed for three deaths in Brunswick County in the past few days. In Sunset Beach, a man attempting to rescue a woman caught in a rip current fell victim himself, both died. At Ocean Isle Beach, a 72 year old man from Florida drowned in a separate incident.
The confirmed deaths are:
- Mitchell McLean, 54, Wilkesboro
- Mary Anne Galway, 55, Waxhaw
- William Nicalaro, 72, Palm Harbor, Florida
If caught in a rip current, people should let the water carry them out to sea while trying to swim parallel to shore, as the currents are usually narrow and funnel through breaks in sandbars.
"Rip currents are fairly common at our beaches," says Brad Reinhart, a NWS Meteorologist based in Wilmington. "Even on days when we have a low risk of rip currents you can see individual ones that might be powerful enough to pull a child or someone that’s not a strong swimmer. Any swimmer should be aware of the threat and know how to effectively escape it."