VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — On Sunday down at the 1st Street Jetty at Rudee Inlet, crews fought back against fierce rip currents and 15-to-20 mile-per-hour winds.
Luckily no one was seriously injured, but as it was going on, no one was really sure what would happen.
Thanks to the Virginia Beach Fire Department we have pictures of the harrowing rescue, where people in the water had to fight against current to stop from washing up on the rocky jetty.
“There is a permanent rip current, and when you get a northeast wind that is blowing 15-20 like it did Sunday, and with surf that was three to five foot going straight against the rocks, that rip is moving as fast as you can see it. You are not going to get past it,” said Tom Gill, chief of the Virginia Beach Life Saving Service.
Two adults, a man and woman, were taken to hospital for evaluation and a child was unharmed and released to family.
“These folks wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time and our guards were going down to talk to them, and within seconds they were swept out and everybody jumped into action.”
Drone video from the fire department shows the waves crashing on the jetty, with swimmers dangerously close to a rocky landing.
It was a jet ski-involved rescue that ironically had just been trained for last week. The training was going on behind Master Firefighter Sean Millard as WAVY interviewed him on Croatan Beach.
“Stick time, get behind the skis see how they operate in different conditions, and riding scenarios on the back of the sled as compared to riding tandem,” he said.
Gill added: “The pictures don’t bring the sound of the wind, and the inability to communicate when you are next to each other, and the waves are crashing over your head.”
10 on Your Side salutes those who helped in this rescue operation: the eight resort lifeguards, three fire-rescue swimmers, Fireboat 12 and Jet Ski 12.
Gill gives credit where credit is due.
“The real big thing was the Fire Boat 12 and Ski 12 stationed right here in the inlet. They were there immediately.”
The current rescue training is so appropriate for rip currents, wind and rocky jetties.
“Today, our final scenario is a victim into the rocks, every third day we train on it, and it happened last Sunday, so it paid off so its fresh in everyone’s mind. Everyone was on the same page during the Sunday event.”