Ocean City Swimmer Dies After Getting Caught in Rip Current

High surf and rip currents are expected to continue.

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    An 18-year-old Manassas man died Tuesday after he got caught in a rip current at Ocean City. News4's Chris Lawrence reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014)

    An 18-year-old swimmer died Tuesday after he got caught in a rip current at Ocean City.

    Emergency crews were called to the Inlet shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday following a call about a swimmer in distress.

    According to witnesses, 18-year-old Jose Maudiel Hernandez of Manassas, Virginia, appeared to be stuck in a rip current and was having trouble getting back to shore. The victim was reportedly overtaken by a wave and did not resurface.

    Hernandez was pulled from the water 13 minutes after the initial call. He was transported to Atlantic General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Beach Patrol Lt. Wade Kovacs says dangerous surf conditions linked to Hurricane Cristobal have prompted lifeguards to restrict swimmers to water no deeper than their knees since Tuesday afternoon.

    Cristobal, a Category 1 hurricane, is expected to continue to curve away from the East Coast, but it is still close enough to produce heavy surf and rip currents from the Outer Banks to the Jersey Shore, Storm Team4 meteorologist Tom Kierein said.

    Rip currents can pull even the strongest swimmers far from shore. Learn more about rip current safety through the National Weather Service.

    Wave heights of 3 to 5 feet are expected Thursday; strong rip currents are likely. The waves should recede by late Thursday.

    Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters says swimmers should check in with the lifeguard every time they come to the beach to learn the condition of the water.  The swimming restrictions at Ocean City remain in effect until further notice.

    You should only swim when a lifeguard is present, and pay attention to posted swim advisories at the beach.

    Lower surf is likely Friday and each day over the Labor Day weekend.