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Video: Firefighters provide insight on navigating Lake Superior's changing conditions

Jun 07, 2021 05:44AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Emily Ness of WDIO-TV - June 6, 2021

The power of Lake Superior was on full display this weekend when the wind shifted, causing a temperature drop and rip currents. This resulted in a water emergency on Park Point Beach Saturday, where a teenager was rescued.

On Sunday, firefighters reflected on the rescue and provided insight to prevent future water emergencies.

“The conditions could be fantastic one minute here and change drastically the next,” Captain Kevin Haney said. “As we saw yesterday, we had a big switch in the winds and the waves picked up which brought in rip currents and a couple of individuals got trapped in them.”

The two individuals who got trapped in the rip currents Saturday were teenage boys. Firefighters say one teen tried to help the other, but a current separated them. The one who needed help made it back to shore, while the one trying to help him drifted about 350 feet further into Lake Superior, where he was rescued by Marine-19.

Firefighter Tim Pearson was the one who jumped in to save him.

“I was able to grab onto him and keep him calm.” Pearson said. “We were taking on some pretty big waves, so if we were out there longer, I don't know what would have happened.”

To prevent future water emergencies, firefighters say swimmers should be vigilant and keep an eye on one another.

“Always stay in a group, stay closer to shore, don't get too far out and just pay attention to those possible rip currents,” Captain Corey Swartout said.

Parents and guardians should also watch children at all times and even consider having them wear lifejackets on calm days.

If you see anyone struggling, officials urge you to call 911 and if you are struggling, do your best to make a lot of noise.

“If you are having issues, scream, shout, whatever it might be. Don’t be embarrassed. People get in situations all the time in life and that’s just the way it is when you are playing in nature,” Haney said.

If you do end up in a rip current, firefighters say there are strategies to get out.

“What you are going to need to do is relax and let the rip currents take you out. As rip currents get further out, they get weaker and they eventually stop and then you are able to swim to the side in either direction so that you will be swimming parallel with land and then you can swim back in,” Haney said.

More information about current conditions on Lake Superior can be found here.

To watch the original story and read related reports, follow this ink to the WDIO-TV website.

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