Enhanced risk of rip currents here forecast for Sunday

From the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A rescue of two children from the ocean in Frisco by a Dare County resident highlights the need for all beach visitors to respect the power of the ocean.

Late Friday afternoon, Jeffrey Del Monte, along with his wife and friend, were driving an off-road vehicle on the beach near Ramp 49 in Frisco when they heard screams of children and panic on the beach.

As they surveyed the water trying to locate the screams, two young girls were spotted apparently struggling while being swept out in a rip current. Del Monte swam out and retrieved the first of two girls and passed her to his friend for a lengthy swim back to shore. He then searched the surface of the water for the second young girl and found her in distress.

Del Monte brought the child to the beach from nearly 100 yards out. After both girls were safely on the beach, Del Monte and his friend tended to them until Dare County Emergency Medical Services and a Cape Hatteras National Seashore Ranger arrived on scene.

“Jeffrey Del Monte’s heroic, selfless, and prompt actions were critical to saving these two girls from a very dangerous situation,” said National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac. “I am thankful for his courage and expertise which allowed him to perform this successful ocean rescue.”

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is also thankful for the long-standing services of Chicamacomico Banks Water Rescue and Hatteras Island Rescue Squad. Both organizations and their dedicated staff regularly patrol seashore beaches and perform ocean rescues throughout the year.

A perfect day on the beach doesn’t always mean that it’s a perfect day in the ocean, so it is critically important that all visitors check the beach forecast for hazards and rip currents before heading to the beach and always use something that floats when in the water. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t swim against the current. Learn more at www.lovethebeachrespecttheocean.com.

As of Saturday evening, a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Outer Banks region through Monday afternoon. In addition to tropical storm-force winds potentially arriving as early as Sunday evening there will be an enhanced risk for life-threatening rip currents starting tomorrow and continuing through early next week.

Beach visitors should use extreme caution in and near the ocean and stay out of the water while rip current risks are elevated.

See prior Observer story here.

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