Duluth Fire Dept: Rip Currents ‘can quite easily develop’ While Swimming

There was not a red flag rip current warning in effect at the time, so officials advise caution when swimming.

DULUTH, Minn- The Duluth Fire Department is urging the public to be cautious and alert when swimming the beaches on Park Point this summer, after they rescued a teen from sudden and unforeseen rip currents Saturday.

“It’s just a good reminder that Lake Superior can be very unpredictable. The weather here in Duluth is very unpredictable, these conditions can develop on short notice,” said Captain Nick Biondich.

“We can have a clear nice sunny day and then all of a sudden the winds shift and we can get larger waves and rip currents that can quite easily develop,” he said.

Duluth Fire and St. Louis County Rescue Squad crews had just finished responding to a water emergency in the Duluth canal when they got the call at Park Point and turned back.

The situation involved four teenage swimmers who were pulled into the lake by a rip current.

Two girls were able make it back to the beach on their own but the two boys were still struggling.

One tried helping the other who made it back to shore, but the one who helped drifted out 350 feet and had to be rescued by a Marine 19 crew member jumping in in a cold water suit.

There was not a red flag rip current warning in effect at the time so officials want to remind the public to be cautious as the lake sometimes has a mind of its own.

“That was one of those days where the weather switched, the winds shifted, specifically when the winds come out of the east the waves crash harder into the beach, is when the risk of rip currents is intensified,” Capt. Biondich said.

Fire officials want to remind people that they can monitor the electronic rip current warning signs posted at Park Point’s beaches, and get real-time updates on parkpointbeach.org.

“Y’know, swim in areas that are more populated, swim in a group of other people, people who know where you’re where you are and where you’re located,” said Biondich.

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