A few weeks ago we were on vacation for the week at Atlantic Beach, NC with my son and his family. On the last day of the trip, late in the afternoon I followed my son, my grandson his friend to the beach, as the boys wanted to boogie-board one more time before leaving.
A few minutes after sitting down in my chair on the beach, close to the water, a family arrived about 30 feet to my left. Immediately I saw the young twin sisters starting to go run in the water and waves. Soon thereafter as the rip current started to take them out, I started yelling to the parents but I guess because of the loud waves crashing in, they didn’t hear me. So I yelled to my 40-year-old son to help and he immediately swam out to save them. The parents then rushed out as the rip current continued to take the girls out.
When my son arrived, the girls started grabbing his t-shirt, pulling him down as they were panicking and trying to stay afloat. When I saw that happening, I ran over to a couple of surfers who had just walked up, asking them to please help as I thought someone was going to drown.
It took about a minute to convince them (seemed forever) and they finally went out. Four young men further down the beach, who at that point saw the commotion, swam out to also help. One surf board brought back the 2 girls and the mother and the other, the father, laying head down on the board. My son, at that point, totally exhausted, floated back to shore, part of the way on his back and then swam in the rest of the way.
CPR was immediately performed by people on the beach on the father for about 10 minutes until the Emergency Rescue arrived, who then continued CPR. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital with the official cause of death being drowning.
We were lucky that day that we didn't have more deaths; my son, the two girls and their Mother.
As tragic as it is, I do believe this tragedy can be used as a teaching moment. All children must be watched at all times while in the ocean or any other body of water for that matter. In just a few minutes, many lives can change forever.
Besides sending condolences to the family of the father, I’d like to give a shout out to the surfers, the 4 young men and my son, Tim who went out to save the family. Along with the father, you guys are all heroes in my mind!