OCEAN CITY, Md. -- An 18-year-old man was rescued late Monday afternoon from a riptide from the 137th Street beach in Ocean City and rushed to Atlantic General Hospital by ambulance in critical condition, police said.
It happened at about 4:30 p.m. Three swimmers entered the ocean and were caught in a rip current. A lifeguard on duty was able to save them. The third man went under and was unable to immediately be located, according to Jessica Waters, a spokeswoman for the town of Ocean City.
A call went out over public safety channels for a missing swimmer, and 15 rescue swimmers responded to the call for help, 13 of them from the Ocean City Beach Patrol and two rescue swimmers from the resort's fire department, according to Ocean City police spokeswoman Lindsay O'Neal.
O'Neal said several of the rescue swimmers pulled the victim from the water and performed CPR. Emergency medical services transported him by ambulance to Atlantic General Hospital. She said he was in critical condition.
Waters said authorities will not be releasing the victim's name at this time. He is from Montgomery County, Ocean City officials said.
A Coast Guard boat and a Maryland State Police medevac helicopter both assisted in the search.
At the scene, one of the victim's friends was hyperventilating from panic, so she also was transported to the hospital, O'Neal also said.
Jeannette Collier of Ocean City said she had walked from her home in the nearby Caine Woods neighborhood for a stroll on the beach. She stood at the dunes and explained how she saw the entire situation unfold.
"I didn't think anything of it," she said, "and all of a sudden, here comes an Ocean City Beach Patrol teenager running all by herself with her board, rapidly. And then I heard sirens. I don't know if he perished or not. I thought it was a regular (lifeguard) exercise. I mean, this isn't what happens every day."
The Beach Patrol was already on duty. First responders from all the town's public safety departments converged immediately to assist when the call went out for a missing swimmer, said Joe Theobald, Ocean City's director of emergency service, who was at the scene.
"They did what they were trained to do," he said of the rescue swimmers.