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18-Year-Old Swimmer Dies After Being Caught In Riptide At Ocean City

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Don Pen Soh Boma
Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)— Deadly rip current. A Maryland teenager in Ocean City for Senior Week is caught in a powerful rip current. More than a dozen trained rescuers try to save him, but it’s too late.

Christie Ileto has the warning from beach patrol about this serious danger.

Tragedy hits Ocean City waters on senior week.

Officials confirm 18-year-old Burtonsville resident Don Pen Soh Boma went into the waters to wade with two friends but never came out after a rip current swept the trio out to sea.

“The kids that were with him were just devastated,” a man said.

“It was a long time until they found him,” a woman said.

Beach patrol rushed to the waters but didn’t find Boma until it was too late.

The current known to push even the strongest swimmers away from shore claimed his life.

“The danger is, rip currents don’t pull you under. A lot of people think that, but it just moves you away from shore,” said Butch Arbin, beach patrol.

In fact, rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards.

Boma and his friends are now part of that stat.

“We heard from two of them that we rescued they had little or no swimming ability, so as soon as the wave hit and they lost their footing and got pulled out, they were actively drowning—immediately,” Arbin said.

News of Boma’s drowning was announced earlier in the day at Paint Branch High in Burtonsville, Montgomery County.

His former classmates were stunned.

“Just shocked, shocked that it hit so close to home,” said Joavaun Wheeler, Paint Branch HS student.

Montgomery County Schools says Boma graduated last year.

Family friends share their grief on Instagram.

“You hear about all that stuff on the news, but you don’t ever think it will happen to somewhere close to you, like someone you know,” said Jarvis Tillman, Paint Branch HS student.

Boma’s drowning–at the start of summer– serves as a yet another cautionary tale to swim safely.

Counselors will be available to Paint Branch High School students this week.

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