Authorities have recovered the body of a U.S. tourist who was taken by a current while swimming near a Bahamas beach.
- (Photo: Chapel at the Beach)
The body of the 31-year-old tourist, whose name has not yet been released by police, washed ashore late Saturday near the island of Eleuthera, the Associated Press reported. Superintendent Stephen Dean from the Royal Bahamas Police Force confirmed the discovery.
The tourist was originally from Palm Beach, Fla. He was swimming alongside three other companions from the U.S. when the current trapped all of them. The remaining three managed to escape and return to shore, according to reports.
A flag system is used in the Bahamas to caution swimmers about the safety of the water. A red flag denotes dangerous currents while a green flag suggests more safe conditions. Buoys are also used at the beaches to mark the point at which swimmers are prohibited from passing. It was not clear in the report whether or not the tourist was within the safe zone of the beach. Users who posted tips on virtualtourist.com suggested that currents were a common issue to look out for.
The most common currents occur in deep waters of 400 meters and below but surface currents can also occur, typically caused by wind. Rip currents occur when deep water travels towards shallow water and breaks somewhere near the shoreline. Rip currents are also usually the most hazardous, according to the National Weather Service center.
"Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as groins, jetties and piers," the government-owned site stated. "Rip currents can be very narrow or extend in widths to hundreds of yards."
When caught in a current, swimmers are advised to remain calm and swim with the current "in a direction following the shoreline" the site advised. Only after swimmers escape the current, should they make their way to the shore.