HAMPTON, N.H. – It was a tragic end to the holiday weekend: Two men dead after trying to rescue a 10-year-old boy who had been pulled into the Atlantic Ocean by a powerful rip tide at a popular Seacoast tourist spot.
Officials said Carlos Reyes, 35, of Marlboro, Mass., and about 10 other people went into restricted waters around 6 p.m. Monday after Reyes' son was swept away by a strong undertow (search) in waist-deep water.
When authorities arrived, all 12 people were stuck in the current. Officials rescued 10 of them, including Reyes' son. But Reyes and Alex Tapia, 26, of Worcester, Mass., were pulled unconscious from the water and pronounced dead.
Police say that area of water was restricted because of the current, but lifeguards had gone off duty around 6 p.m.
"We felt that the situation should not have been this drastic," said chief lifeguard Jim Donahue.
Donahue said rip tides have been especially severe this season because of strong storms in May. Lifeguard captain James DeLuca said extra guards were on duty during the day Monday to patrol areas where there were known to be rip tides.
"We've never had beach conditions like that before," he said. "They were swimming in a bad area after the lifeguards went off duty."
Jerry Dobrov, 54, of Atkinson, said he was at the beach with his family. He left briefly to feed a parking meter and when he returned he saw ambulances and eight or nine lifeguards in the water looking for people.
Dobrov said he saw the head of an older man bobbing in the water.
Through the day, Dobrov said, lifeguards had been keeping swimmers from particular areas of the beach to avoid undertows.
"We came to see the fireworks. We got them," he said.
In New Jersey, meanwhile, two veteran parachutists died Monday after their chutes became entangled during a jump, police said. The two victims, a man and a woman, were jumping from an airplane operated by the Freefall Adventure Skydiving School (search) based in Gloucester County.
The names of the victims were not immediately released. Police said the 33-year-old man was from Florida and had made 1,600 jumps; the 23-year-old woman had made 1,000 jumps.