Imperial Beach students on field trip rescued from rip current

Posted at 3:45 PM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 23:59:54-04

IMPERIAL BEACH (KGTV)--Five sixth grade students on a beach field trip were rescued after being caught in a rip current Thursday morning, according to the South Bay Union School District. 

The children from Central Elementary School had been playing and wading in the water around 9:30 a.m. on Seacoast Drive near Dahlia Avenue when they were caught in the current and had to be rescued by nearby lifeguards, said superintendent Katie McNamara. 

Witneses tell 10News students were screaming for help from the water as teachers and classmates watched in horror.

"It was really sad," said Alyssa Fetcho. "I felt bad for the little kid cause you could see his board floating out there from where he was and you were like oh my heart hurts for him."

"There was this little kid in the back of the truck, like his whole body was just limp" said Taylor Beaumont, who witnessed the rescue. "They had this ventilator thing on him and it was crazy to see." 

McNamara's initial statement said that no students were seriously injured but a later version retracted that statement.

10News reporter Jennifer Delacruz is following up with the school district to find out the current condition of the students.

How to avoid getting caught in a rip current:

  • Check local beach forecasts before you head out and/or talk to the lifeguard on duty 
  • Only swim at a beach with lifeguards on duty
  • Look out for warning signs or flags (like the one at the top of this story)
  • Just because it's a beautiful day, doesn't mean you're safe. Rip current often form on calm, sunny days

And experts say, if you do get caught in a rip current, it's important that you stay calm. It won't pull you under; it will just pull you away from shore.

Don't fight it because you'll just get tired. Instead, they say, float and wave your arms and yell to get the attention of people on shore and/or lifeguards. 

Also, learn how to spot a rip current with this online training tool.

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy