Father gets caught in rip current trying to rescue son

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:21 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, Mass. (WBZ) - A father is in a hospital after he and his son were caught in dangerous rip currents at a Massachusetts beach.

Good Samaritans jumped in to rescue them both Wednesday. Police said the dad is fighting for his life.

“It’s devastating,’ said Robin DiNatale, who called 911. “And the kids were on the deck saying, you know, ‘Is my daddy OK?’”

Phone video shows Salisbury first responders pulling the father of four out of the ocean.

“The father goes running in, and now he’s with his son, but now he’s screaming, ‘Help me, help me!” DiNatale said.

Police say the father jumped into the water to save his struggling son from the rough surf.

Kenny Crosby says before he knew it, both needed rescuing.

“The kid was going further and then the dad was running out,” Crosby said. “And then the dad was also saying, ‘Help!’ And so I had no choice; I had to run out there.”

It might look calm on the surface, but Crosby says the undercurrent was incredibly strong.

“(It was a) small teenage kid,” he said. “His dad looked like he was struggling, and the kid grabbed my hand and we started swimming. And I don’t know, it just was like survival mode.”

Good Samaritans pulled the kids out of the water, but their father was the last to be rescued. An aerial view captured the man being taken into the ambulance.

With no lifeguards on this stretch of the beach, signs are up warning swimmers of the strong currents.

DiNatale says the kids weren’t out that far, but the power of the ocean can be deceiving.

“The tide will pull you right out,” she said. “You can stand here and you know, you could get knocked over.”

And while this family prays that their dad comes home, Salisbury police have a message for swimmers.

“I would just say don’t go in over your waist, just stay where you can keep your feet on the ground,” said Sgt. James Leavitt.