Potentially dangerous rip currents left in Colin’s wake

Potentially dangerous rip currents left in Colin’s wake

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Tropical Storm Colin moved off, but it left behind some potentially dangerous rip currents along the Grand Strand.

Emergency crews, lifeguards and experienced surfers encouraged everyone heading to the beach to be extra careful.

Tropical Storm Colin churned the ocean up and created breaks in the sandbars. Water will follow the path of least resistance and channel quickly through those breaks in the sand.

The rip currents are strongest right around low tide, which was at 4 p.m., Tuesday. So, as the storm moved offshore, the wind and waves left behind created the higher risk for strong currents.

The risk for rip currents will continue through Wednesday.

If a swimmer gets caught in one, it can easily drag them out to sea.

For those who do get caught in a rip current, they should try not to panic and reserve their energy. The, immediately wave and signal for help, and swim at an angle toward shore.

Whether it's rip currents or any emergency, lifeguards and beach patrol officers are on high alert.

Emergency responders jumped into action early on Tuesday when a well-known local surfer collapsed in the water.

Mark Allison owns Surf City Surf Shop and was out paddle boarding Tuesday morning as his friends surfed.

Todd Palmer was in that group and said he looked over to see Allison face down in the water.

Palmer said everyone worked together to pull Allison out of the water and on to shore, where a bystander had already called 911 and lifeguards were there to help. They started chest compressions until Horry County EMS arrived on scene.

"It was very scary," Palmer said. "When the EMTs got there, they did the defibrillator. His pulse came back. And when they pulled him off the beach, it looked like he was starting to regain his color. So, really scary time."

Horry County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ian Maxwell said Allison was transported to Grand Strand Medical Center in fair condition.

Surfers who were on scene said they believe what happened to Allison had nothing to do with rip currents, but was a medical issue.

Even so, they urge everyone to be extra careful if they plan to have fun in the ocean.

"Just watch out if you don't know what you're doing," said Palmer.

Two young surfers in that same area said they make sure they have someone onshore watching out for them just in case something goes wrong.

"Keep a lookout for other surfers," said Bradley Lackie.

"Yeah whenever you go out, you always want to have someone watching you," chimed in his friend, Ethan Newsome. "Or especially if you're young. You want to have your parents watching."

Aquatic centers up and down the Grand Strand are extra busy with swim camps and swim lessons to make sure kids are prepared for any pool, lake, river or ocean.

"Mother Nature is a great thing. It's fun to be here. But Mother Nature is also something you need to respect," said Newsome.

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