A veteran Marine saved the life of a man who was swept away by a tidal current on Long Beach Island by using his surfboard as a life raft.
Stephen Houser, 35, was filming a YouTube video in the waves when he saw swimmer Gabe McCabe being swept away by the strong currents. The video shows that Mr McCabe was able to cling to House's board and then pull him back to safety.
The first-hand experience happened over Labor Day weekend on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. while the sunny weather brought people to the beach, the remnants of Typhoon Idalia and other tropical storms made the sea very rough.
“I've never experienced anything like that, it just shuts the energy out of you,” Mr. McCabe told WABC.
The former marine spotted Mr McCabe struggling to float in the water and desperately swam to save the man from drowning in the current.
Mr McCabe now calls his savior a ‘friend for life' after what he did for him. “Steve was definitely the man of the moment for me yesterday. I'm not sure if I'd be here today [without him]but luckily I am,” says Mr McCabe.
Mr Houser said rip currents can often prove “really deadly”, he said: “I've been in these rip currents before, it's scary. Your first instinct is to panic.”
While Mr McCabe was able to be pulled to safety, others sadly drowned in rip currents along the Jersey shore.
Three people have drowned in the strong currents.
A human chain of lifeguards and fellow swimmers, overseen by an emergency helicopter, was formed in Beach Haven Ocean County, attempting to search for a submerged 22-year-old man. Despite the efforts, the man, identified as Edwin Antonio Made Sanches, was caught by the rough waves and drowned.
Two other lives were also catastrophically taken by the rip currents over the Labor Day weekend.
Police responded to a call about six swimmers in distress at Seaside Beach. The US Coast Guard was able to locate five people, but despite searching through the night they were unable to find the last 31-year-old male swimmer.
In Belmar, police also received a report of another group of six swimmers at 6th Avenue Beach. Five swimmers were rescued, but a 42-year-old male swimmer was found unresponsive. he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
All beaches along the east coast have been issued a high or moderate current warning due to the continued after-effects of the storms.