Pennsylvania Couple Tragically Drowns While Rescuing Children from Rip Current in Florida

A Pennsylvania couple tragically drowned in an ocean rip current on Thursday while vacationing with their six children in Florida, The Washington News reported.

Brian Warter, 51, and his girlfriend Erica Wishard, 48, both from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, were on Hutchinson Island along Florida’s southeast coast when the tragedy occurred. The family was enjoying a beach day when two of their teenage children were caught in a dangerous rip current.

According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Warter and Wishard immediately tried to rescue their children, who were struggling against the powerful current. The teenagers eventually managed to break free and swim to safety, but their parents remained trapped in the water.

“The kids were able to break the current and attempted to help their parents, but it became too dangerous and they were forced to swim ashore,” investigators noted in a Facebook post.

Martin County Ocean Rescue responded promptly to the emergency. They performed life-saving measures on the couple before transporting them to a nearby hospital. Despite their efforts, the two adults were later pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office confirmed. told by NBC News.

On the day of the incident, red flags were posted at the beach, indicating dangerous surf conditions. The National Weather Service office in Melbourne had also issued warnings of a “high risk” of rip currents along the coast.

“A lot of people are locals, they understand rip tides. They know what to do, what not to do,” said Martin County Chief Deputy John Budensiek in a statement to WPTV West Palm Beach. “We get these vacationers that come in and, unfortunately, this ends poorly for them. There’s no way to get the message out to all of them.”

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that can pose significant dangers to swimmers. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves and can quickly pull swimmers away from the shore. Understanding and heeding warning signs, such as beach flags and local advisories, is crucial for beachgoers, especially those unfamiliar with ocean conditions.

This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by rip currents and the importance of being aware of and respecting beach safety warnings. It also highlights the heroism and selflessness of parents who, in moments of crisis, prioritize their children’s safety above all else.