AC beach patrol issues warning after recent rescues involving children

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, May 21, 2021
Beach patrol issues warning after recent rescues involving children
CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Video captured a recent ocean rescue involving children at the Jersey shore. Beach patrol officials are issuing this dire warning ahead of the holiday weekend.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Beach patrol officials in Atlantic City, New Jersey are putting out a word of caution to the growing preseason crowds after several ocean rescues involving children.

On Tuesday, surveillance cameras captured three children, ages 8, 9 and 11, stuck on a drainage pipe on the Virginia Avenue beach surrounded by rough waves.

A good Samaritan tried to help them until two police officers arrived. Police body cam footage showed officers carrying the kids to shore.

The children and the good Samaritan were sent to the hospital for lacerations, having been banged up by the waves and the pipe.

Chief Steve Downey with the Atlantic City Beach Patrol says the children are very lucky.

"With the help of a good Samaritan and the police, we arrived on scene afterward and we're able to get them to safety. They were cut up pretty good," said Downey.

Police say two children had to be rescued from that same spot on Thursday, and another group of kids had to be rescued in another spot in Atlantic City on Saturday, May 15.

Officials say the weather has been bringing more people to the beach and the ocean.

"We've had probably the biggest crowds at this time of year that we've had in my lifetime," said Downey.

As is the case in many beach towns, lifeguards will not be on duty in Atlantic City until Memorial Day weekend. But officials say people are still getting into trouble in the ocean.

Officials are asking people not to swim when guards are off duty, and to stay away from rocks, piers and other hazards.

"We're in the process now of trying to get signage out to all of those areas to try to alert the people ahead of time. Unfortunately for us, those areas seem to attract people to them," said Downey.

Adults say it's a reminder to keep a close watch.

"Especially when the water is like this, I like to stay close by in case I have to grab her," said Valerie Maddox of Northeast Philadelphia, who was spending the day at the beach with her great-niece.

Downey says some new signs went up this week and more are on the way, warning people to stay away from rocks and hazards.