Riptides make Long Island beaches deadly

Seven people have died or are presumed dead on Long Island and New York City beaches, causing officials to urge caution. Lifeguards have been powerless against the sheer force of Mother Nature as the

News 12 Staff

Jul 28, 2008, 4:20 PM

Updated 5,838 days ago

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Seven people have died or are presumed dead on Long Island and New York City beaches, causing officials to urge caution.
Lifeguards have been powerless against the sheer force of Mother Nature as the swimmers were swept away over the weekend. Three swimmers drowned at Long Beach? two Friday and another Saturday. Their deaths were the first at the beach in 15 years while lifeguards were on duty.
Long Beach Chief Lifeguard Paul Gillespie says it's the worst he's seen in 40 years on the job. "The water's been terrible and we go off at 6 o'clock and we tell them they can't go in the water," he says. "We clear the water we do all the right things and then the people go back in the water."
Another swimmer drowned Saturday in East Quogue.
Strong currents are also being blamed for drownings in Hampton Bays, Queens and Coney Island, Brooklyn, where a 10-year-old girl was swept away while swimming with her family.
Despite the incidents, many swimmers say they'll take their chances. "I would still go in the ocean," says Katerina Asher. "I would be careful. I wouldn't go all the way in."
"If you get pulled out by a rip current you don't swim against it, you let the rip current take you out and try to go lateral left or right," Gillespie advises to those who risk it.


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