NEWBURYPORT (CBS) – Lifeguards raced to rescue children in the water near a jetty in Newburyport Friday afternoon. The rescue is the latest in a busy week after riptides pulled dozens of people out into the deep.
“They just ran out there. It was really pretty amazing to see them running at top speed,” said Lucia Colmbaro.
Colmbaro witnessed the rescue of what appeared to be two older kids at Newburyport Beach.
“We could see the kids pretty far out into the water near the jetty and you just see these heads bobbing but then they didn’t make it back to shore,” said Colmbaro.
A recurring scene across the area, like at Hampton Beach.
“July is usually the worst because we have the biggest crowds in July,” said Chief of Lifeguards James Donahue.
Lifeguards remain ready after 48 rescues on Wednesday alone. The last time that happened was on a summer weekend in 1985.
“We had 125 rescues in three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” said Donahue.
Donahue has been a lifeguard for 58 years. He says Wednesday’s record-breaking number of rescues was because of a higher than usual east wind.
“We have high areas, and in between the high areas, we have depressions. It’s in these depressions that this current will develop,” he said.
Chief Donahue says the victims were mostly non-swimmers, the elderly, young children and boogie boarders.
Aside from looking out for each other, lifeguards encourage swimmers to stay calm when entering a riptide.
“If you’re caught in one, try not to panic. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you can keep a clear head and try, you will get out of it,” said Donahue.
Lifeguards also suggest checking in with them when you arrive at the beach to get the latest on the water conditions before going in.