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Four rescued from powerful current at Honeymoon Island

DUNEDIN — Four people were rescued from powerful currents Thursday off Honeymoon Island, a place where the waters can occasionally be treacherous.

About 12:20 p.m., two girls ages 12 and 14 were playing in the water on the southern tip of the island when they got caught in a current that pulled them down the beach, said the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Two male relatives, whose ages weren't given, went into the water to help the girls but also got caught in the current.

At that point, another beachgoer who witnessed the struggle went to lifeguards for help, the Sheriff's Office said. The lifeguards were able to reach the people by using a personal watercraft and other rescue equipment. All were brought back to shore and were not injured.

The group was at the state beach park for a family reunion, authorities said.

All of them declined medical treatment, said Dunedin fire Division Chief Bill McElligott.

The waters off Honeymoon Island can be hazardous, McElligott said. "There are rip currents there."

And there's a pretty intense current that runs between Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, he said.

He's not sure what type of current the family got caught in on Thursday. The currents frequently change, he said.

In April, an Odessa woman saved four people who got caught in a powerful current at Honeymoon Island before firefighters arrived and saved three more.

In June 2009, three teenage swimmers were rescued by a lifeguard at Honeymoon Island State Park.

And in July 2004, a 55-year-old Lutz man drowned at Honeymoon Island after he saved a child caught in a rip current.

If you get caught in a rip current, McElligott suggests swimming parallel to the beach until you can swim out of the rip, and then back in to shore.

"We don't respond to a lot of calls there," McElligott said. "There are a considerable amount of signs that talk about the rip currents and the park does a good job about making that information available."

Four rescued from powerful current at Honeymoon Island 06/30/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 30, 2011 7:58pm]
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