What to Know
- Six swimmers who were in distress were rescued from the water off of Seabrook Beach in New Hampshire by a Good Samaritan.
- A 49-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman, both from Methuen, Mass., were unconscious; the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
- The woman suffered life-threatening injuries in the incident; choppy water conditions appear to have been a factor.
One of two people rushed to hospitals after being pulled from the water off of Seabrook Beach in New Hampshire has died, according to authorities.
Multiple agencies responded after receiving calls around 12:25 p.m. Sunday for multiple swimmers in distress in the area of 131 Ocean Drive.
A Good Samaritan was able to help the six swimmers to shore. Four of the six were not injured, although two of the swimmers were unconscious when they reached shore and CPR was started.
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One of the two unconscious swimmers was a 47-year-old woman from Methuen, Massachusetts. She was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The other was a 49-year-old male, also from Methuen, Massachusetts. He was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport where he was pronounced dead.
SWIM ADVISORY—The ocean currents are strong today. For your safety avoid swimming in the ocean off Seabrook Beach. pic.twitter.com/wamB52wzkm— Seabrook Police Dept (@SeabrookPolice) August 19, 2018
The Good Samaritan who raced into the water to help the distressed swimmers spoke to NBC10 Boston/necn Sunday night.
Matthew Tomaszewski says he looked out into the ocean from his porch and knew he had to act fact.
"It looked like there were some people caught up in a really bad undertow and rip tide," he said.
Tomaszewski grabbed his paddle board and jumped into the water, fighting powerful waves. About 100 feet from shore, he saw the first group of swimmers come in on their own surf board.
"There was a group behind them that didn't have any boards and were sort of flailing," he said.
After paddling out another 200 feet, Tomaszewski saw the next group. A man and woman were treading water, struggling to hold up their unconscious friend.
"Looked to be in really bad shape," he said of the unconscious swimmer.
Tomaszewski says he immediately put the unconscious man on the paddle board, had the other two people grab on and tried to swim back to shore.
"And that's when we got hit by a massive wave," he recalled.
The wave threw the unconscious man back into the water. Tomaszewski sent the other two on his paddle board, leaving him on his own. After struggling, he decided to swim back and says he barely made it.
Emergency crews eventually showed up with a boat and found the unconscious man in the water, who was later pronounced dead.
Tomaszewski says for a brief moment, he also didn't think he would make it. He adds that thinking of his wife and 17-month-old daughter gave him the strength to keep on going.
"I'm glad I was able to help any way I could," he said. "My heart and prayers go out to those families affected."
At this time, it appears that choppy water conditions may have been a factor in the incident.
While the beach is not closed, authorities are advising people to stay out of the water until the currents calm down.
CodeRed alerts, as well as posts on the Seabrook Police Department Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, advised of the dangerous currents and to avoid swimming off of Seabrook Beach following the incident.
New Hampshire State Police - Marine Patrol, the United States Coast Guard, Seabrook Police and Fire Departments, and the Hampton Fire Department responded to the scene.
Neither of the two victims has been identified.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Officer Nicholas Haroutunian at 603-293-2037.
All aspects of the incident remain under investigation.