Couple drowns in rip current while on vacation with their kids in Florida

Rip currents usually reach a speed of 1 to 2 feet per second.

June 21, 2024, 8:38 AM

A Pennsylvania couple drowned in a rip current while on vacation in Florida with their six children, according to authorities.

The parents, 51-year-old Brian Warter and 48-year-old Erica Wishard, were swimming on Hutchinson Island Thursday afternoon when the couple and two of their teenage children were swept out to sea by a rip current, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said.

Brian Warter and Erica Wishard are seen in this photo provided by the Warter family.
Courtesy the Warter family

The teens were able to escape and they tried to rescue their parents, "but it became too dangerous and they were forced to swim ashore," according to the sheriff's office.

Responders found Warter and Wishard and gave them CPR on shore, the sheriff's office said. But the couple was declared dead at a hospital, authorities said.

Rescue crews work the scene where a couple drowned in a rip current while vacationing, June 20, 2024, in Hutchinson Island, Florida.
Marion County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

The sheriff's office said its crisis intervention team deputy is helping the children as they wait for other family members to come meet them in Florida.

Martin County Fire Rescue said it will evaluate conditions Friday morning before deciding if the ocean will be open to the public.

A rip current, which flows out toward the ocean, can quickly pull a swimmer away from the shore. Rip currents usually reach a speed of 1 to 2 feet per second, but some can clock in at 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Click here for what to know about escaping a rip current.

ABC News' Jessica Gorman contributed to this report.

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