WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Beach Patrol officials are urging people to swim only at guarded beaches after a group of swimmers had to be rescued from the ocean in Wildwood, New Jersey on Thursday.
Officials say a woman, her daughter, and her daughter's friend got caught in a rip current and had to be rescued.
Several bystanders with surfboards were able to help the swimmers as responders arrived.
Action News found a group of beachgoers who saw all the commotion.
"We were just walking over and we saw a bunch of lights and cars and everything and we saw a couple of the Coast Guard boats," said Olivia Clayton of Morgantown, Pa.
"It was actually right over here. They were obviously trying to help somebody," said Garret Hershberger of Morgantown, Pa.
The emergency crews were called around noon Thursday to the unguarded beach at Andrews Avenue for several swimmers in distress, and a report of a child missing.
"At that point, a Code X was called, which is when a swimmer goes submerged," said Fire Chief Ernie Troiano. "Fire department personnel was in the water searching, police department personnel was in the water searching."
That missing swimmer was eventually found alive and well on the beach, having been helped to shore by a Good Samaritan.
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It's believed the rescued swimmers were caught in a rip current. Off-duty beach patrol lieutenant Steve McGuinn just happened to be on the beach when the call came in.
"I just started running down the beach," said McGuinn, joining a beach Patrol EMT who was already on scene. "We secured those victims and brought them back to the beach."
McGuinn says while this rescue ended with three lives saved, they keep training because situations like this happen every year.
"It's a huge problem. People - parents - everyone overestimates their swimming ability and underestimates the power of the ocean," said McGuinn.
Starting Saturday, lifeguards will be on duty daily at limited beaches in Wildwood, with full beach coverage expected to begin on June 19.