It was a rough weekend for people swimming in strong currents off Miami Beach.
Warm temperatures combined with choppy waters led to about 100 rescues this past weekend, and several dozen more swimmers needed assistance getting back to land.
“That’s a very high number,” said Ocean Rescue Chief Vincent Canosa. “It was one of those weekends where the conditions were extremely bad up and down the coast.”
A tragedy Friday night set the tone for the weekend. A tourist died that evening when five swimmers were caught in rough water around 7:30 p.m. in Mid-Beach, after lifeguards had gone home for the day. After someone dialed 911, police and fire rescue arrived to assist the group. One man died at Mount Sinai Medical Center after being pulled from the water with the assistance of a bystander.
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Ocean Rescue has about 50 lifeguards working on Miami Beach on a daily basis between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Canosa advised all beachgoers — whether local or tourists — to chat with lifeguards about conditions if the water looks rough. Lifeguards are trained to spot rip currents.
“Our mantra is ‘Always swim in front of a lifeguard,’ ” he said.