VIRGINIA BEACH, Va, (WAVY) — A man who went into the ocean in Sandbridge on Sunday afternoon to rescue a swimmer in distress has died.
The first call came in at 12:32 p.m., and emergency crews responded to the beach near the intersection of Sandfiddler Road and Marlin Lane.
The Virginia Beach Emergency Management Service says when they arrived on scene firefighters were in the water attempting to search for the victim, but they were unsuccessful.
Crews subsequently searched by boat for the victim and found him around 1:30 p.m. on the shore line on the 2400 block of Sandfiddler Road, according to Virginia Beach EMS.
A preliminary investigation by EMS has determined the man went into the water to help a 17-year-old male swimmer in distress.
The Virginia Beach Fire Department says two firefighters from Engine 17 went into the water to attempt to rescue the victim. One firefighter swallowed water and was taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital for “aspiration issues,” according to Chief Michael Barakey, who says the firefighter is in good condition.
The name and age of the victim has not yet been released.
The Super Doppler 10 weather team has been warning people of the strong surf along the Virginia and North Carolina coast all weekend. 10 On Your Side did spot a few swimmers in the waters off 8th Street at the oceanfront early Sunday morning, despite the rough conditions.
“We were like it’s been cruddy all weekend so its like why not,” Isaiah Olson, a sailor from Montana said.
Adam Leichner, a sailor from California said, “[We check[ed] out the temperature and its like 81 degrees, humid. I don’t care if its cloudy, any day is a good beach day.”
The rough water was enough for families like the Alberts to stay away. Another family got close, but stayed in ankle deep water.
“I imagine with all the wind there is probably a fairly decent rip current. I consider myself a pretty strong swimmer and I wouldn’t go out in this,” Virginia Beach resident Robin Sayre said.