Bigger killer than sharks lurks beneath ocean surface

Published: Jun. 22, 2012 at 8:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) It's swift, silent, and could be deadly for swimmers taking a dip in the ocean. It's not a shark, it's a rip current.

"Rip currents are way more deadly than any aquatic animals we have out here," said Wes Cox with Lack's Beach Service.

Recently, six marine animal bites have had parents and beachgoers on edge that sharks could be searching for prey off the Myrtle Beach shoreline. But lifeguards and swimmers say that's not the aquatic killer to look out for.

"Rip tides seem to be a constant thing," said beachgoer Chris Eldridge. "Sure, you'll have shark bites, you're at the beach and those happen. But rip tides happen daily."

Lifeguards say the numbers back up their stance on rip currents. There hasn't been a documented shark-related death in South Carolina since before the American Civil War. Just last summer, there were two drownings due to rip currents in Myrtle Beach.

Cox says rip currents are dangerous, and swimmers should constantly be on alert, but it is possible to get out of one if you know what to do.

"Just ride it out until you don't feel the pull anymore," Cox said. "Swim out at an angle to the left or right, depending on which way the current's going."

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