In less than two weeks, rip currents have taken the lives of at least 11 people.
MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – It is one of the most popular vacation spots for people in North Mississippi and West Alabama, but there are dangers in the water from Fort Morgan to Panama City Beach.
First responders said there have been multiple drownings.
In less than two weeks, rip currents have taken the lives of at least 11 people. Data shows rip currents kill more people than tornadoes or hurricanes. Even if you are a good swimmer, you are no match for a rip current.
A popular hotspot for the Fourth of July weekend, Panama City Beach, has had emergency workers respond to 70 swimmers in distress over ten days.
Columbus Fire Search and Rescue Caption Damon Estes has been caught in a rip current before.
“Luckily, I had a flotation device with me,” Estes said. “It’s kind of nerve-racking experience you all of a sudden get swept away from the shore which is your safe zone.”
The water can look calm in one minute, but all of that can change in an instant.
“The big thing with that is paying attention to the beach flags if you’re going to the beach area,” Estes said. “They’re gonna have flags that tell you the green or obviously the red is closing the beach and stuff like just a level to be on alert. So, that’s gonna be an important aspect that’s gonna help you stay safe and know the risk of a rip current. We have to remember that drowning is a silent event. Movies make you think people are hollering and stuff, but they’re not. If you’re drowning, the last thing you’re gonna do is waste your breath. If someone is in a safe location