An Orange Beach man was still hospitalized a day after being pulled from the water at Perdido Pass Tuesday night, June 12, 2018. He’s one of two swimmers rescued by Orange Beach Police.
When Orange Beach Police got the call there were four swimmers in trouble, but two had made it out on their own before the Beach Patrol arrived. Where it happened is a popular, but treacherous beach at Alabama Point with shallow sandbars and steep drop-offs. Officials think the swimmers got in trouble when they got in over their heads and couldn’t fight the strong current.
Dramatic video shot by an Orange Beach city employee showed the rescue attempt play out for the two remaining swimmers. Beach Patrol Officer, Jeremy Mote was quick to respond. After making sure the two swimmers that made it back to the beach were okay, he began swimming out to the other two.
“Right before he made contact with them, our police boat for the city showed up, threw a flotation device to the swimmer that was still in the water. Very shortly thereafter, the two jet skis from our fire department arrived on the scene,” Lt. Robert Howard with Orange Beach Police explained.
The swimmer that was still on the surface was loaded on the jet skis and taken to shore. Police say the other swimmer had gone under several times and was brought aboard the rescue boat along with Officer Mote. That victim was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital. Officer Mote was also taken to the hospital, but was released last night.
“The best way to put it…he did exactly what we would have expected. I think he went above and beyond,” Howard said. “Any time an officer puts their life in jeopardy to save someone else, it’s technically what the public expects from us, but it is nice to see someone do it without a second thought whatsoever.”
Gulf State Park’s Alabama Point Beach is popular, but deceptively dangerous. Strong currents have produced shallow sandbars, sometimes luring swimmers close to danger.
“The water can actually look tame, but it’s pretty deceiving so when the tide’s moving in or out it actually creates a very strong current for us, depending on the tidal change that day,” explained Orange Beach-Beach Safety Chief, Brett Lesinger. “We fly red flags here constantly throughout the year. It’s the only beach that we will fly red flags every day no matter if other beaches are yellow flags.”
Police said the man taken to Sacred Heart Hospital was still on life support Wednesday. Beach Safety officials warn visitors to stay close to shore at this spot to avoid stepping off of a sandbar and being swept away by the currents.
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