N.J. father drowns trying to save son

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WCAU/NBC) – A father at the Jersey Shore died after attempting to save his son. The child was out swimming when he got caught in a rip current.

WCAU’s Ted Greenberg spoke with witnesses , along with a lifeguard, expressing the importance of swimming while a lifeguard is on duty.

Images were captured with a cell phone as rescuers pulled a lifeless man from the ocean after he tried to save his 11-year-old son who’d been struggling in the surf.

The boy made it out. His father did not survive.

Witness Olga Shur said, “It’s very, very upsetting. Very. And they had a lot of small kids. It was like five small kids with this family.”

Another witness, Sharon Riggi, said, “It’s very traumatic. We felt very sorry for the family.”

The incident, involving a family from Redding Burkes County, happened near the Ocean Casino Resort around 9:30 Monday  morning, before lifeguards were on duty for the day.

Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey said, “Please just follow the signs. Read the signs and make sure there’s lifeguards in the stands before you let you or your children go in the water.”

Lifeguards along the Jersey Shore were already on alert for a moderate risk of dangerous rip currents, just as the weather heats up again.

Jimmy Reardon with Franklin Township, Gloucester County said, “You can feel it pulling you out. It’s kind of hard to swim back in if you get too far out.”

Atlantic City lifeguards just had their busiest weekend of the summer so far, logging 57 rescues, 17 of them after normal guarding hours. Luckily none of those people had to go to the hospital.

“If we’re not on duty, if you’re swimming, you’re really swimming at your own risk,” Chief Downey said.

It’s a real danger that can turn family fun at the beach into devastation.

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