An 18-year-old Montgomery County man has died after being caught in a rip current in Ocean City, a town official said.
Town officials identified him as Don Pen Soh Boma of Burtonsville, Maryland. He graduated from Paint Branch High School in 2013.
"Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the family, friends and loved ones of the victim," Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters wrote in an email. "On behalf of the entire town of Ocean City, our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time."
Three swimmers were caught in a rip current shortly after 4:30 p.m. Monday. Two swimmers were rescued by two lifeguards, officials said.
Lt. Ward Kovacs of the Ocean City Beach Patrol said the third person was knocked off a buoy and went underwater.
Fifteen rescue swimmers searched for the that man, and he was not located until after 5 p.m., Waters said. He was taken to Atlantic General Hospital, and O'Neal said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30 p.m.
"It was quite an extraordinary effort," Waters said.
She and Kovacs both recommended that beachgoers check in with a lifeguard when they arrive. The lifeguards are trained to know the current conditions of the water and can also warn swimmers of any dangerous conditions.
The dangers can change hour to hour, Kovacs said. On Monday, turbulence created some pop-up rip currents, which can appear and disappear after a few minutes, Kovacs said.
Today, the rip currents are more in fixed areas, Kovacs said.
The National Weather Service has a moderate rip current risk in effect through this evening for the Maryland beaches and Accomack and Northampton counties.
The last time a swimmer died when lifeguards were on duty was at the beginning of the season in 2007, he said. There have been drownings since then, during the off-duty hours.
"The vast majority of drownings occur when lifeguards are off duty," he said.
If Monday's incident had occurred at a time when the lifeguards were not on duty, it's likely there could have been three fatalities, Kovacs said.
"Make sure that before you go into the ocean that you learn how to swim and wait, of course, for lifeguards to get on duty," he said.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE STUCK:
If stuck in a rip current, remember the letters RIP, Lt. Ward Kovacs said.
• Relax: Don't panic.
• I need help. Call out for help as soon as you realize you're in danger.
• Parallel: Swim parallel to the beach for the length of a backyard pool, and then try to swim to shore.
• Normally, a lifeguard has already spotted someone stuck in a rip current, he said.