OCEAN CITY – Tragedy struck last weekend when a Fruitland man died in the ocean near the Inlet while attempting to save his two young sons caught in a rip current.
Around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, Renald Charles, 38, of Fruitland, went into the ocean near the Inlet in an attempt to rescue his two sons, ages 10 and 13, who had become distressed in the water. The father and two sons, now caught in a rip current, drifted around the north jetty and headed toward the Inlet.
Witnesses on a nearby parasailing boat saw the three distressed swimmers waving their arms and came to assist them. The boat’s owner, Michael Andrew, from Inlet Seadoos, saw the father was no longer conscious and dove in the water in an attempt to retrieve him, while the captain of the boat, Dale Springer, dove in and assisted the children by bringing them on board his vessel.
Shortly thereafter, a Coast Guard rescue boat arrived on the scene and pulled the unconscious father on board. He was taken first to the Coast Guard Station and transported by Ocean City Emergency Services to Atlantic General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Charles’ body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore to determine the cause of death.
The two boys, now aboard the parasailing boat, were taken back to the dock near the Inlet. They were examined there by Ocean City EMS, who transported them, along with their mother and two other children, to AGH. Further medical treatment for the two boys was not required.
The incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday about 15 minutes after the Ocean City Beach Patrol had cleared swimmers from the ocean before they went off duty for the day. As always, the Beach Patrol strongly urges swimmers to enjoy the ocean during times when the lifeguards are on duty.
Sunday’s tragic incident was the second death in the ocean in the resort this summer. On Sunday, June 17, a 19-year-old Lanham, Md. man drowned in the ocean around 31st Street after getting swept under in a rip current. The man, who was in the water with a brother and a cousin, all of whom were non-swimmers, was not immediately recovered despite a massive search effort by the Ocean City Beach Patrol, the Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Maryland State Police, including rescue boats and a helicopter.
After several hours, the search and rescue mission became a recovery mission as Lanham’s body was not found. His body was recovered in the surf near Assateague Island nearly a week later.