It was a near perfect day at the beach on Long Beach Island Sunday.  The sun was bright, and people were here for the unofficial last weekend of summer.

The water in Beach Haven was quite choppy this afternoon with some pretty heavy waves.

At around 3:00, the day at the beach turned to tragedy quickly.

Lifeguards, police and emergency services were alerted to three swimmers in distress in the area of the 5th Ave Beach.  Two of the people were rescued from the rough water, but a third remained missing.

The New Jersey State Police Marine Unit as well as the United States Coast Guard, including a Coast Guard helicopter unit joined the search, and about an hour later, witnesses report seeing a body pulled from the water and CPR being administered.

There are unconfirmed reports that one man has died, although as of 8pm, authorities have not confirmed that. 

Witnesses on the scene have reported a sudden rip current occurring in the area, and waters being extremely rough.

According to the NOAA,

A rip current, sometimes incorrectly called a rip tide, is a localized current that flows away from the shoreline toward the ocean, perpendicular or at an acute angle to the shoreline.

What are Rip Currents? USOCEANGOV via YouTube
What are Rip Currents? USOCEANGOV via YouTube

Rip currents are dangerous for even the most advanced swimmer.  A swimmer caught in a rip current can be pulled out to sea very quickly and can be disorienting.  Experts say the way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the current.

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