Surviving a Rip Current

Surviving a Rip Current

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Yellow flags replaced double-red flags at Gulf Shores public beach. Yellow flags replaced double-red flags at Gulf Shores public beach.
GULF SHORES, Alabama -

The near drowning's, the deaths that we've seen in the last couple days made me learn to respect the ocean." A difficult lesson after four drowning's in 24 hours. Three of them in the area of where Jennifer Hewitt and her family are vacationing.

"We don't know much about it. We think it's just fun, surfing and yet we see how dangerous it is after yesterday."

They used to be known as undertows, rip tides but rip currents are strong underwater currents that can drag you out into the gulf in seconds. "I would try to swim as parallel to the shore as possible until you can pull yourself out of it, swim with the current as much as you can without being too pushed to far out," says former lifeguard Robert Torres.

That is exactly what experts say you should do. But what if it's your child that's being taken out? "I'm a mother of four," says Julie Long, "and I know if I saw one of them in danger my instinct would be to grab a boogie board with a tether on it and run out there and either try to toss it to them with it still attached to me so I could pull them in or I would be the one screaming on the beach sending my husband out go and rescue them."

The majority of rescues involve people trying to save others and becoming victims themselves. First responders say at least three of the four recent drowning victims were going in to save others. "We've been coming here for years every summer and this is the first time the rip tide has been so strong."

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