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Oregon deputy risks life to save boy from rip current

Oregon Deputy Risks Life To Save Boy From Rip Current

14-year-old Joshua Peterson and his rescuer, a deputy sheriff, struggled to survive the frigid Pacific waters on an Oregon beach when they were both swept away from shore by a rip current.

"A wave came up from behind me, and I was thinking no one could hear me when I was calling for help," Peterson told ABC.

A rip current first took the seventh-grader away from the shore of Harris Beach, and he was forced to tread water as a friend called 911.

"I was really scared at first. I was out there for about 20 minutes until Terry showed up. If he hadn't come out, I would have been a goner," he told The Bulletin.

Terry Brown, the sheriff's deputy, arrived first on the scene. He immediately tried to help but ended up getting himself caught in the dangerous rip current, too.

"Armed with a life vest and a rescue line, the deputy dives in the 50 degree water, but the rope runs short," ABC reported.

So, what is a rip current -- and why are they so dangerous?

"Basically, rips are strong, narrow currents that flow from the shoreline, through the surf zone and offshore. They exist to take all the breaking water that's piling up on the beach back out to sea," Dr. Rob Brander from the University of South Wales says.

According to The Oregonian, that same type of current kept Brown and Peterson away from the shore for "almost and hour" -- twice the typical survival time for those conditions.

The two were reportedly "near death" when they were finally rescued by the Coast Guard.

Despite severe hypothermia, Brown and Peterson have become good friends and even shared a hospital room that night, according to KEPR.

Fortunately, the two are expected to make a full recovery.

Join the discussion

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babyfizzy June 05 2014 at 10:13 AM

It's important to know what to do when you get caught in one of these. First of all, DON'T PANIC. If you panic, you are just going to get tired faster. ALWAYS swim PARALLEL to the shoreline- do not attempt to swim straight back to the beach because it is nearly impossible to swim against the powerful rush of water.

Rip currents are usually narrow "rips" in the shoreline where water flows through. Because of this, you can escape the current by simply swimming to either side of the flow of water (getting out of its way). From there, you can begin swimming back to the beach.

Hoping everyone stays safe this summer!

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4 replies
TripleXKimberly June 05 2014 at 8:08 AM

So glad that they both made it out and alive! Mr. Brown is a true hero! Hope they have a speedy recovery.

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cloudjumpr June 05 2014 at 6:49 AM

Finally, something real. Hero officer, lucky boy. Nothing bad or shocking reported.

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Linda June 05 2014 at 10:00 AM

Good. Glad they are both going to be okay. You NEVER turn your back on the ocean.

Rip Tide, Sneaker waves.......You NEVER turn your back on the ocean.

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mramirez258 June 05 2014 at 9:16 AM

areal man went oute to help a true hero glad thir both safe

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sgblough June 05 2014 at 11:02 AM

My cousin & I were caught in a rip tide in Florida a few years ago. It happened so fast. We were touching bottom one minute and then the next minute we swimming for our lives! We were out there fighting to get back to shore for about 45 minutes. We each took turns giving up - luckily not at the same time. Thank God my cousin was with me. If I had been swimming alone, I'd not be here today. Swim sideways! I repeat - swim sideways!
Note: No one on shore or even swimming near us realized anything was wrong.

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grgblnk1 June 05 2014 at 7:38 AM

Just glad it was correctly called a rip current and not a rip tide

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prnyl June 05 2014 at 2:27 PM

Any parental comments here or just clueless standing by????

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alspoolhall June 05 2014 at 12:52 PM

This incident is a teaching moment. Talk about it at the water cooler or when talking swimming, fishing or summer vacation to your kids, etc. Not everyone knows to swim parallel to the shore to get out of the rip current.

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Ashleigh June 05 2014 at 12:14 PM

Rip currents suck. I almost drowned in one trying to get back to shore on Big Beach in HI. I puke sand for 2 days, it took off my swim suit, everything and banged my head on the ocean floor over and over again.

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1 reply
Robert Ashleigh June 05 2014 at 6:59 PM

Took your swim suit off, did it? I wish I had been there to rescue you ! ! !

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