Busy weekend for some Brunswick Co. water rescue teams, unusually calm for others

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Busy beaches are a typical sight for summertime in the Cape Fear Region and the holiday weekend is no exception.

Lifeguards have been on high alert, but not all area beaches are patrolled by lifeguards. In Brunswick County, teams like the Oak Island Water Rescue keep an eye on the waters and Chief Tony Young says, fortunately, it was an unusually quiet weekend.

“Huge crowds and two calls. One at the beginning of the weekend and one right at the end of the fireworks the other night,” Young said. “I think it was just the combination of perfect weather, people being smart, and maybe some of our proactive approach.”

Down the road in Sunset Beach, Fire Chief Paul Hasenmeier says they had extra beach patrol and water rescuers for the weekend and it paid off. On Saturday, they found one man face down and unresponsive in the water.

“By the time we got him to the medic unit, he was back alert and conscious, so that was a good rescue, good save by not only fire department personnel but beach patrol,” Hasenmeier said.

They also rescued several people around the pier. Some were injured by the barnacles, others were caught in a rip current.

“There were five different rescues made on Sunday alone, four at one time. People trying to help each other near the pier,” Hasenmeier said. “They got into trouble and pulled out into rip currents and our personnel were at the right spot at the right time to make those rescues.”

Chief Hasenmeier reminds people to steer clear of the pier.

​”The pilings are full of barnacles, people get cut up, they’ll get caught in the rip currents, they’ll get caught in the different waves that are coming through the pier at different angles and can get in trouble in a hurry,” he said.

As Elsa approaches the Cape Fear, swimmers are urged to take heed.

“Check the flags. If it’s green, go have a ball but know that you’re not 100% safe, you never are in the ocean,” Young said. “If it’s yellow, knee-deep is good. If it’s red just please stay out of the water.”

For the latest on water conditions and Tropical Storm Elsa, make sure to download the WWAY Stormtrack 3 Weather App.

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