DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WALA) – It was a race to rescue three swimmers Wednesday caught in a current in the water off Dauphin Island.
Viewer video captured the tense moments as a teen girl had to be loaded into a Coast Guard helicopter and flown to University Hospital.
“To see two of them at least be put in an ambulance walking on their own is great, but seeing that girl flighted was pretty emotional, pretty intense,” said Linda Kopetsky.
Kopetsky fighting back tears while talking with us. She is here on vacation with her family and watched as crews worked to save the victims around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon near Raphael Semmes Street.
“You saw the young kids, you knew it was intense and you just sit there as a parent like what do you do,” she said. “See I’m getting emotional, I saw the mom on the beach, one of her sons I guess was there.”
First responders were called to the scene, but by the time they arrived all three swimmers were back on land.
Red flags were flying at the time warning about the rip current danger.
“It’s like an invisible force, you can’t see it,” said Rachel Arthur.
Arthur captured the chaotic scene on camera. She used the water rescue as a chance to remind her kids to respect the Gulf.
“We play on the beach all the time and so for it to happen right where we kind of consider it our home turf is very scary and it’s a good life lesson for my kids too to see how serious it is, how dangerous it is,” she said.
Before the near-drowning, single-red flags were flying. After the water rescue, that was upgraded to double red flags as conditions worsened.
“You know it’s just a fun day at the beach and life turned so quickly,” Kopetsky said.
At last check, the teen girl is in critical condition, but posts on Facebook indicate she appears to be on the road to recovery.
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