Pennsylvania Parents Drown in Florida Rip Current During Family Vacation

 Pennsylvania Parents Drown in Florida Rip Current During Family Vacation

Pic: HuffPost

Erica Wishard and her fiancé, Brian Warter, tragically drowned while on a family trip in Florida, leaving behind six children they were raising together. The blended family was enjoying their first vacation outside Port St. Lucie when a rip current swept the parents away.

Authorities report that despite one child’s attempts to instruct the parents on how to navigate the rip current, Wishard and Warter, overwhelmed by panic, were pulled under by the powerful current.

Larry Warter, Brian’s father, shared with Inside Edition the family’s excitement about the vacation. “This was the highlight of the year,” he said, reflecting on the tragic turn of events, told CBS 12 News.

Wishard had four children from a previous marriage, while Warter had two sons. The couple was working on blending their families, with both sets of children developing strong bonds with each other. “They’ve had previous marriages and they were getting the family together and both sets of kids love the other,” Larry explained.

This heartbreaking incident is part of a recent string of drownings along the East Coast, where eight swimmers, including two teens from Queens, New York, have lost their lives in rip currents over the past week, exacerbated by a sweltering heat wave driving people to the water.

Swimming safety expert Jim Spiers, president of Stop Drowning Now, offered crucial advice to Inside Edition on how to survive a rip current. “If you see a break in the waves and the changing color in the water, and the water moving back out, that is a riptide, avoid that space,” he warned.

Spiers emphasized the importance of not fighting the current if caught in one. “Float out on your back and rest. Don’t wave both hands, that’s just going to tire you out. Don’t yell to the beach because they’re not going to hear you anyway; it’s just too loud,” he advised. “Once you float out and you get past where the rips let go of you, swim parallel to the shore until you clear the rip, and then swim back in and let the waves help you come back in so you’re saving energy.”

This tragic event serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of rip currents and the importance of water safety, especially during peak vacation season.

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