Monday, April 05, 2010

When freaque wave combined with rip current . . .

Perils for beach goers: freaque waves can be terrible to encounter, but when it is combined with rip current -- watch out!

Here's a depressing news from New Zealand:

Frantic rescue efforts by Northland beachgoers yesterday failed to save a man swept to his death in a strong rip after being knocked over by a rogue wave.

The 20-year-old Auckland man, a poor swimmer, was walking in shallow water with four mates at the normally safe Ngunguru Beach, about 24km north of Whangarei yesterday.

All five were knocked down by a rogue wave but the missing man was caught in a strong rip and carried out to sea, in what police called a freak and tragic accident.

Police searching for the man's body today said one of his four mates swam to his aid after he was spotted floundering in the surf.

The rescuer reached his friend, who was struggling to stay afloat, but they were separated by waves.

The missing man was believed to have panicked and may have pulled his rescuer under the surface.

"They were hit by a wave, he lost sight of him and that was the last they saw of him," said search controller, Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe.He said the man and his four friends were doing nothing wrong.

"They were walking in the surf between knee and waist deep (water) and a rogue wave has knocked five of them over and the undertow has sucked him out through the waves."

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