Two people are dead after a man tried to save a woman and toddler from drowning off a Georgia beach Sunday.
Emergency officials responded to the incident around 6 p.m. Sunday off St. Simons Island near Massengale Park, where swimmers were in distress, Glynn County Police said in a news release.
Several people on scene helped the woman and toddler get back to shore, police said. The man "went underwater and did not resurface."
The woman, identified as 34-year-old Aleisha Rankin, of Jesup, Georgia, died after she was taken to a hospital Sunday night, police said Monday.
Gregory Grant, 39, of Brunswick, Georgia, was identified as the man who drowned trying to save Rankin and the child.
A witness told The Brunswick News that Grant ran into the water to help when he heard the woman and child were struggling to swim.
Travis Williams, of Waycross, Georgia, told the newspaper he saw the man during the chaos of the rescue.
"The undercurrent, it was so strong. We couldn't grab him," Williams told The Brunswick News.
Grant's body was recovered around 7:30 a.m. Monday, police said.
Authorities have not confirmed what caused the drownings. According to the National Weather Service, there was a moderate risk for rip currents off the Georgia coast Sunday, and life-threatening rip currents were possible.
On average, 100 people in the U.S. die from rip currents every year, according to the National Weather Service — posing a bigger threat to beachgoers than sharks.
Here are a few signs of rip current, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
- A channel of churning, choppy water.
- A difference in water color.
- A line of foam, seaweed or debris moving toward the shore
- A break in the incoming wave pattern
If caught in a rip current, it's important to remain calm and try to swim parallel with the shore line and not fight against it.
On Saturday, Ivan Reyes Tigui, 18, of Georgetown, drowned off Pawleys Island, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported. His body was recovered after an hours long search.
Two others were rescued, the newspaper reported.