Officials: Water rescues increase in Surf City

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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The Surf City Fire Rescue team has rescued 50 people from rip currents over the past two weeks. 20 of those have occurred since Wednesday. And the rip currents are only forecasted to get stronger over the weekend.

“The current is changing, that bottom structure is changing,” said Surf City Fire Chief Allen Wilson. “We’ve also seen some pretty turbulent waters with some of the storms we had leading up to the summer season.”

There is a high risk of rip current in Surf City going into this weekend. A forecast that beachgoer Trish Meade said is intimidating.

“Sometimes the ocean ocean looks so inviting so make sure you have a buddy don’t swim alone that would be my biggest thing don’t go in there alone,” said Meade.

Surf City Deputy Fire Chief Tim Hobbs has been saving lives for 25 years, but he said he has never seen anything quite like this.

“You don’t know how long they’ve been out there. So, I treat them all like they’re alive and we’re coming to get them,” said Hobbs.

Ten people died from rip currents on North Carolina beaches last year, but none in Surf City. But Hobbs continue to stress that even the strongest swimmers can get caught, and it can be deadly.

“I tell my guys there’s nothing wrong with fear, but panic will kill you.”