Off-duty lifeguard rescues two swimmers in Vero Beach rip current

Posted at 12:05 AM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 11:05:03-04

An off-duty lifeguard is being credited for rescuing a father and son from a rip current in Vero Beach, and the rescue was caught on video.

Timothy Carpa said he was at South Beach Park in Vero Beach Wednesday to do an interview with a local photographer, Kip Brazie, about pollution and litter on the beach.

Carpa has been a lifeguard for more than 20 years, and is trained to spot rip currents.

“I stepped back to answer a few questions, I could see the rip current really pulling and three people in it,“ Carpa said.

One person was able to swim out, Carpa said, but a father and son kept getting pulled out into the water.

During the interview, Carpa is recorded stopping, glancing out at the struggling swimmers, and running to grab his daughter’s surfboard.

“It just becomes another sense…I just gotta go. I mean, it’s just engrained,” Carpa said.

He says the swimmers drifted out about 45 yards, and seemed shocked.

“I call it the white out phase, you get that white out screen on your face,” Carpa described.

He got the two swimmers to grab the surfboard and brought them back to shore.

“That [rip current] was pulling. It took us awhile to get back in.”

Carpa said he was in the right place at the right time, knowing not all swimmers stuck in rip currents have the same, safe ending.

Now, reminding swimmers to be cautious, especially when a lifeguard is not on duty.

“If you are pulled out, relax. You will be able to swim north or south of the rip current,” said Carpa.

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