Swimmer thankful to be alive after almost drowning in Ocean City

OCEAN CITY, Md. – Imagine laying out on the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the sound of the waves when out of the blue, you hear a noise off in the distance.

It’s a swimmer screaming, crying for help, panicking because they’ve gotten stuck in a rip current.

That’s exactly what happened at an Ocean City beach Sunday afternoon.

James Kelly, the drowning survivor said, “I just started yelling to my wife who was on shore, ‘Get help, get help, I need some help, help me, help me!'”

Kelly is one of the lucky ones, saved by both beach goers and beach patrol when a simple lunch-time swim went wrong.

Kelly said, “I dove out, I went out maybe 15, 20 feet and once I got there, I tried to get back in but the waves kept pushing me out.”

Within just moments, James was drowning.

Kelly said, “The next 20 to 30 seconds I didn’t see the guys come in the water to get me or anything like that, basically I passed out and the next thing I knew I woke up and I was in the ambulance headed to Salisbury trauma center.”

It seems luck was on Jason’s side Sunday afternoon, and on Monday he had the privilege of meeting his rescuers.

Kelly said, “We never think anything like this is going to happen to us but when it does, we’re amazed there’s these qualified professionals here that could save our lives, so I really appreciate it.”

Sunday’s series of events raise the question: what should you do if you see a swimmer in distress?

Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguards say, you should stay out of the water and call 911.

Dave Krabbe, the lifeguard who saved Jason Kelly’s life said, “You don’t want to risk yourself going in because a lot of times you can also become a victim so it’s best to call 911.”

Ocean City Beach Patrol says overall, it is best to stay out of the water altogether until lifeguards return to the stands in May.

47 ABC has also learned that two men died on Sunday in what officials are calling current-related drownings at Assateague State Park.

Remember if you ever find yourself caught in a rip current, we’re told the best thing to do is not panic, and swim parallel to the shore until you break out of the current.

Categories: Local News, Maryland