Parents of Six Drown After Being Caught in Rip Current

Pennsylvania couple was swimming with their mostly teenage children in Florida
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 10:13 AM CDT
Parents of Six Drown After Being Caught in Rip Current
This Feb. 25, 2022, image shows Stuart Beach at the south end of Florida's Hutchinson Island.   (Wikimedia Commons/Tdorante10)

Six children who visited a Florida beach with their parents on Thursday left it as orphans. In a devastating case, Brian Warter and Erica Wishard of Pennsylvania drowned after getting caught in a rip current at Hutchinson Island's Stuart Beach. The parents and two teenagers were swimming when they were swept from shore by a rip current, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said in a statement, per Fox News. "The kids were able to break the current and attempted to help their parents, but it became too dangerous and they were forced to swim ashore," authorities said.

Warter, 51, and Wishard, 48, were retrieved by lifeguards, who performed CPR. "Those life-saving efforts continued in the ambulance and at the hospital where doctors gave it every last effort before declaring the couple deceased," the sheriff's office said. Authorities were called to the beach around 1:30pm, just two hours after the Martin County Fire Rescue issued a warning to beachgoers. "We suggest strong swimmers only because rip currents are expected," it said, per Fox. Red flags were flying at the beach, indicating high surf and strong currents.

The family from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, was on vacation in Florida, per CBS News. The sheriff's office noted the toll on the "six mostly teenage children." Chief Deputy John Budensiek said the kids not only "watched [their parents] drown," but "watched the resuscitation efforts" on the beach and at a hospital, "so they're extremely traumatized." A crisis intervention official "assisted the couple's children throughout the day and evening as they await the arrival of other family members into Florida," the sheriff's office said.
See tips on how to escape rip currents here. (More drowning stories.)

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