Dramatic video shows rescue of father, son pulled offshore by powerful rip current in Florida

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said the pair were swimming off Bean Point on Anna Maria Island when a strong current pulled them from the shore.

ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. - A father and his young son from Europe who were vacationing on Anna Maria Island in Florida are breathing a sigh of relief after they were pulled 100 yards from shore by a rip current.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the pair were swimming off Bean Point on Anna Maria Island in late April when a strong current pulled them from the shore.

"Happenstance, we happened to be there at the right place at the right time," said Sgt. Russell Schnering with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office's Marine Unit. "(We) picked them up and carried them back to the beach and reunited them with their family."


According to a report from FOX 13 Tampa, marine deputies with MCSO saw the distressed swimmers while they were on patrol and quickly pulled them onto their boat before safely bringing them back to the beach.

"I’ll get the door. Just hold them," the deputies can be heard saying in footage of the rescue recorded by body camera.

Deputies said the father and son duo spoke little English and seemed unaware of rip currents common to Bean Pointe along Anna Maria Island.

"It was shocking because you could obviously tell they were in distress," said Deputy Alan Judy, who assisted with the rescue. "The father was exhausted, and his little son was definitely scared."

Deputies stressed the importance of knowing when and where stronger currents may be.


"We were surprised because so many people were on the beach, and no one had called 911," Schnering said. "No one called it in, but it's because it just happened. Before you realize it, you're too far away, and they weren't strong enough to swim back against the current.

While it can be unnerving, Schnering said relaxing and going with the flow can save your life.

"The most important thing is to not swim against the tide now," he said. "They would have eventually just gotten swept way out, and what we recommend when you’re in that position is just relax. Don’t hyperventilate. Don’t get too excited. Just try and relax and don’t use all of your energy until it starts to subside and slow down a little bit, and then maybe try to parallel the beach and come in a different route."


A father and daughter died on Pass-a-Grille that same weekend while caught in another rip current. Deputies know each rescue can end differently, but they hope it’s a reminder to know your surroundings.

"It’s not just us. Of course, we are out looking. Lifeguards are looking from the towers. It's other people on the beach. We ask them just be vigilant – if you see somebody in distress," Schnering said. "They say drowning is the silent killer. Once you are down, nobody knows."