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Five Swimmers, Three Firefighters Saved When Caught in St. Pete Beach Rip Current

Pinellas Sheriff | Marine Unit | Law Enforcement

The three firefighters were caught in the current when they went to help the swimmers.

ST. PETE BEACH – Eight people – five swimmers and three firefighters – were saved from a rip current on St. Pete Beach on Wednesday (July 24).

One swimmer was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported, according the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Pinellas deputies said the water rescue was a collaborative effort that lasted almost 20 minutes and included help from Good Samaritans, fire rescue, and deputies.

The incident occurred about 11:37 a.m. in the Gulf of Mexico behind 4700 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach.

Deputies said they were called for a report that several swimmers were struggling to swim back to shore because of the strong current. When deputies arrived, they said they saw four swimmers in distress about 40 yards to 50 yards offshore hanging onto two Styrofoam boards. Another swimmer had made it to the beach on his own and  was receiving medical attention from paramedics on scene.

Deputies said two firefighters from the St. Pete Beach Fire Department swam out to help  the other swimmers and became caught in the rough seas and rip current.

In the meantime, a deputy and a Good Samaritan were able to help one swimmer back to shore using a rescue throw rope.

A third firefighter entered the water to help with a throw rope. He was also caught in the rip current.

First responders and bystanders worked together with rescue throw ropes to pull the other three swimmers back to shore.

Marine unit deputies responded with a boat and rescued one firefighter while the other two firefighters were able to grab rescue throw ropes and were pulled back to shore.

File photo shows a Pinellas sheriff’s marine unit. Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Pinellas Sheriff | St. Pete Fire | Water Rescue | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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