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Several Rhode Island crews combined to rescue three swimmers caught in riptide, fast-moving current



Several crews and organizations combined to possibly save the lives of three swimmers on Monday afternoon.

According to Fire Chief Scott Partington, the Narragansett Fire Department received a report of several people caught in a riptide and fast-moving tidal current at the mouth of the Narrow River just north of the Narragansett Dunes Club at about 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Three people; 1 male, 1 female and 1 child were quickly swept offshore and briefly went missing within the rip tide and heavy surf at the mouth of Narrow River. One was reportedly not wearing a lifejacket.

Crews mobilized immediately, and the rescue efforts began with lifeguards from the Dunes Club and the Town of Narragansett Surf Rescue entering the heavy surf and fast-moving waters; however, the swift moving current swept them too far offshore to reach. The Narragansett Fire Department deployed rescue swimmers from shore and from a rescue watercraft, in addition to deploying a Fire Rescue Boat to the mouth of the river.

All three were eventually rescued several hundred feet offshore by responding vessels. All were accounted for, assessed and treated at the scene by mutual aid rescues from the Town of South Kingstown. The female and child were transported to the local hospital for further evaluation and treatment for hypothermia and exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.

Partington Thanked all pf the agencies who responded – Narragansett Fire and Police, the lifeguards from Narragansett Dunes Club and Narragansett Surf and Rescue, Dunes Club security and staff, South Kingstown-EMS, RI-DEM and vessels from the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force who were later cancelled while enroute to the scene.

Partington offered these safety tips:

-Avoid swimming near or in the mouth of the river; especially during heavy surf or tidal changes.

-Swim only in areas where certified lifeguards or security are actively working and/or patrolling; especially during times of moderate to heavy surf.

-Wear a suitable lifejacket or other flotation device if you are a poor or inexperienced swimmer.

-Stay off the jetties or rocks; especially during heavy surf you can easily be injured and swept into the water by the waves.

-Never swim alone; take a buddy.

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